Caijing Magazine Critiques Government Statistical Practices (story in Chinese)

October 7, 2004

Hu Shuli, editor of the respected economic journal Caijing, notes the willingness of the State Statistical Bureau to readjust past statistics to avoid the appearance of an overheating economy. She observes that such incidents reduce the credibility of economic statistics issued by the Bureau. Ms. Hu suggests three ways to address the problem: 1. Encourage NGOs and academics to issue their own unofficial figures, thus allowing competition to strengthen the quality of experts in the field. There is no reason for a state monopoly on the generation of statistics, Hu says. 2. Make the entire process transparent by explaining which methods, sampling techniques, etc., the Bureau used in coming to those results. 3. Establish principles to guide professional statisticians, from managers to the investigators on the lowest level. This will raise the quality of professionals in the field of statistics and help avoid conflicts of interest.