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China statistics bureau says staff leaked data for personal gain

[BEIJING] China's statistics authority said officials profited from selling data and inflating equipment prices, according to a report that cited other shortfalls including procedures that don't keep up with economic changes.

The National Bureau of Statistics said 313 employees took money for providing internal information in violation of agency rules and have been asked to return 3.23 million yuan (S$670,656) in fees that they improperly collected, according to a statement from the authority posted Wednesday on the website of the nation's anti-corruption body. The NBS also said irregularities were found in purchases of handheld devices used to collect data.

The NBS, which publishes China's official economic data including gross domestic product, also said it hasn't updated operations to reflect development of the new economy, the statement said. The bureau will roll out updated guidelines for compiling data across those sectors by the end of this year and has amended how it calculates regional growth.

Inconsistency between totals for provincial growth and the broader national GDP number has long fueled skepticism by economists about the credibility of NBS data. The report shows the challenges facing agency chief Ning Jizhe, a close adviser to Premier Li Keqiang who was named to the position in February after former head Wang Baoan was removed over unspecified corruption allegations after less than a year on the job.


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