Local governments which manipulate statistics to "show off" or "save face" will be more closely monitored in the future.
The move is part of an overhaul of China's statistics system, in line with the reshuffle of its economic structure, said Zhu Zhixin, director of the National Bureau of Statistics.
"The country will have to improve its statistics system to accurately reflect adjustments in the economic structure," Zhu said.
Xiao Zhuoji, a professor at Peking University, said statistics are playing an increasingly important role in the country's economic and social development.
Yet some local governments have taken advantage of loopholes in the country's statistical mechanism to draw up false reports.
Some tend to report an "artificially high" economic growth rate to "show off, or at least to save face" in disregard of actual conditions, he said.
Currently, the country's statistical system relies heavily on reports from local governments. The process is vulnerable to manipulation of figures to suit their own ends.
"Economic statistics, especially economic growth rate, must be accurate," Xiao said.
"Scientific research and feasibility studies should be the sole basis for calculating the economic growth rate," Xiao added.
Zhu said the new system should cover more areas such as the service industry, the private economy and new industries.
Figures which have become meaningless under China's socialist market economy should be removed.
"China will add more market-orientated indicators to revise its current economic accounting system," he said.
Statistics departments at all levels will increase their use of computers to improve efficiency, said Zhu.
Statisticians are also required to improve their ability to analyze statistics in order to help local governments make decisions.
(China Daily 12/28/2000)