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China proposes punishing officials and bosses who manipulate data
[BEIJING] A draft amendment to China's Statistics Law will make officials and their bosses directly accountable for data accuracy and also increase the ceiling on fines for companies that report false information.
The draft amendment was published by the National Bureau of Statistics on Tuesday on its website, with the bureau calling for feedback until Nov 9, according to a statement.
If passed, the amendment would mean statistics agencies at the county level and above have to set up an accountability mechanism to prevent fake data, and punish those responsible as well as their bosses. It will also raise a ceiling on fines for companies that report inaccurate or incomplete data to 500,000 yuan (S$96,700) from 200,000 yuan under the current law.
Anyone committing "dereliction of duty" should be "held accountable and responsible leaders and the people directly responsible should be called to account for data fabrication," the draft amendment says. It adds that the government department appointing the officials or the country's discipline watchdog should hold people accountable if they "shelter or connive in" illegal activities, tip off law breakers or fail to implement appropriate data standards.
The new law would, if passed, elevate accountability from a department-level regulation to a national law.
China has "zero tolerance of any manipulation of statistics, and will strictly crack down on it," the head of the National Bureau of Statistics, Ning Jizhe, told Bloomberg News in an interview last year. Some regions previously falsified data, but the numbers now are generally trustworthy and internationally comparable, he said.
There have been numerous cases recently of companies making false financial statements, and there have been a number of provinces and local governments found to have inflated or hidden data.