Tuesday, March 23, 2021

Ag Ministry Chastised for Statistical Fraud

Statistical fraud was uncovered in a month-long investigation of China's Agriculture Ministry last year. This revelation was made by an investigation team from the National Bureau of Statistics that looked into the agricultural ministry's statistics in August 2020. The team reported its results to Vice Minister of Agriculture and Rural Affairs Yu Kangzhen last week

The discovery of falsification and fraud in rural statistics was revealed quietly after the communist party had already declared complete victory over rural poverty last year and celebrated a "faster than expected" recovery of the swine herd in 2020. Both achievements were declared on the basis of statistical indicators.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs was criticized for not fully implementing the communist party central committee's pronouncements on statistical work and for failing to disseminate the regulations and opinions throughout its statistical bureaucracy. The Statistics Bureau faulted the Ag Ministry for failing to put management systems in place for some statistical items, for erroneous statistical surveys, and lack of standardization in issuance of statistical data and reports. Accountability for fraud and falsification is not timely, quality control is not in place, grass roots statistical teams are weak, and development of information systems has been lagging. 

Vice Minister of Agriculture Yu Kangzhen said the Ministry fully agreed with the Statistics Bureau's critiques and pledged to implement the recommendations, including deeper study of Xi Jinping's important directives on statistical work. Yu promised to raise the political position of statistical work and pledged to conduct a remediation.

The National Bureau of Statistics team was led by members of the Statistics Bureau's communist party organization, and Vice Minister Yu was also identified as a member of the Ag Ministry's party organization. The communist party decreed that rural poverty would be eliminated last year and assured the public that its policies would restore pork supplies. Thus, communist party members are under great pressure to demonstrate statistical proof of the party's successful policies. They are threatened with punishment if they fail to report statistics showing objectives were met, but they are also threatened with punishment if they inflate the statistics. 

"Some localities [add water to] statistical data". The local official is thinking about "falsification."
Source: Liaowang magazine.

Last year, the party's Liaowang magazine revealed that the statistical bureau was conducting investigations of false and fraudulent statistical reporting by local governments and ministries. According to Liaowang, the government gives out numerous benefits to companies and demands numerous reports. It would be embarrassing to refuse, and county or township governments commonly fill out reports and companies file fake reports to avoid angering the government or getting a poor credit rating. 

The Statistics Bureau's own agricultural census was riddled with fakery three years ago.

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