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Discrepancy between Local and Central Governments GDP Statistics

According to a recent Guangming Daily article, a reporter found that the sum of China’s provincial accounting of GDP statistics for 2012 totaled 57.69 trillion yuan, 5.76trillion higher than the National Bureau of Statistics’ preliminary estimate of 51.93 trillion. The difference is the equivalent of the total GDP for Guangdong Province’s economy.

The problem has existed for years. Since 1985 when the central government and the local governments started to do independent accounting of GDP statistics, the sum of the provincial figures has been higher than the total GDP. For example, the provincial total in 2009 exceeded the national figure by 2.68 trillion yuan; the difference increased to 3.2 trillion yuan in 2010, and 4.6 trillion in 2011. It was 5.76 trillion for 2012.

In March 2012, the National Bureau of Statistics exposed cases in which local governments were involved in local enterprises’ fraudulent statistical reporting. The article called for a reform of the current system of using GDP figures as a major factor in evaluating local officials’ performance.

Source: Guangming Daily, February 4, 2013