Quality of China's Official Statistics: A Brief Review of Academic Perspectives

  • Dmitriy Plekhanov
Keywords: China, official statistics, statistical system, economic indicators


Following the rise of the Chinese economy, interest in the official statistics coming from China is intensifying. Official data on GDP, industrial production and other economic indicators attracts a lot of attention all over the world. This positive development represents a challenge for the Chinese official statistics system, as official data is now under greater scrutiny. As the Chinese economy is undergoing the process of transformation and rebalancing, the need for reliable and accurate statistical data becomes even more imperative. This article presents a brief review of English-language publications on the topic and provides key points of criticism of the Chinese official statistics. The review shows that the majority of studies present a rather critical view of the Chinese statistical system. However, from an academic point of view, it is almost impossible to provide concrete evidence that the Chinese official data is deliberately manipulated or falsified. The limitations of publicly available data do not allow researchers to double-check the accuracy of the official statistics. Alternative estimates of Chinese economic indicators are not free from criticism either. Nevertheless, research in this area is an important contribution to the understanding of the China's official statistics, and hence the Chinese economy and society in general.


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