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China stats bureau called out for profiting from data
By Reuters -
China's Communist Party anti-graft watchdog said on Wednesday that hundreds of staff working for the country's statistics bureau have been using data for personal gain, including collecting fees for providing information and other services.
The Central Commission for Discipline Inspection listed a series of problems at China's National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), including a failure of statistical measurements to keep pace with the development of China's economy.
In a lengthy report, the commission said that 313 staff at units controlled by the statistics bureau were asked to return 3.23 million yuan ($497,450) in fees for the irregular provision of data services.
The statistics bureau republished the commission's report on its own website.
Problems were also found with purchase contracts for mobile data collection devices. There was an issue with more than 600,000 yuan in training fees included in the equipment purchase contract, the report said.
The former head of the statistics bureau, Wang Bao'an, was sacked in January after authorities announced an anti-corruption investigation.
There have long been doubts about the quality of China's official economic data, with many alternate surveys pegging China's growth significantly lower than the official figures.
China's statistics bureau also has a history of periodically cancelling or delaying publication of data. Over the last few months, the NBS has delayed the public release of data including power generation, base metals production and quarter-on-quarter GDP growth for the first quarter of this year.