Monday, March 21, 2016

Lu Hao Can't Catch a Break: He's the new poster child for Chinese performance report inflation

​Heilongjiang Gov. Lu Hao's assertion that 80,000 miners at his province's largest mining company had been fully paid triggered an angry protest by the workers. The governor soon backtracked and pledged to pay back wages.

His candor won some applause, but it also reignited questions online and even in state media about how he could have been so easily misinformed on such an important matter.
"There's hardly any thread of authenticity these days in the reports from subordinates to their supervisors in the government, and the superiors shall by no means believe any of those reports," wrote Hua Yuxi, a Chinese blogger. "Their statistics, their work summaries, and their achievements are all fully inflated."

The incident came just months after the state-run Xinhua News Agency reported that officials in China's northeast admitted they had inflated economic data, apparently to meet targets and impress their superiors.

In one case, a county in Liaoning province inflated its fiscal revenue by 847 million yuan ($131 million) for 2013, state auditors reported last year. Xinhua said local governments had cooked the books to cover up fabricated data on everything from economic growth to investments, consumption, trade, urban projects and urban incomes, before investigators and cooperating officials uncovered the scam.

"Although officials at all levels know the dangers of inflated statistics, they feel they have no choice when they feel the pressure from performance evaluation, regional competition and promotions for themselves," Xinhua said.

The deceptions harken back to some of the darkest periods in recent Chinese history, particularly the 1958-61 Great Leap Forward, when communes were rapidly formed and the communist government vowed to surpass the West economically and show the superiority of its socialist system.

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