China’s National Bureau of Statistics has been accused this week of understating inflation — by another part of the Chinese government.A research report from the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, a government think tank based in Beijing, has said that Chinese inflation has been under-reported by over 7% over the last five years.
The National Bureau of Statistics, which regularly defends the quality of its output, swung into action.
“Obviously, the article’s conclusion does not hold any water,” Sheng Laiyun, NBS spokesman, told reporters.
The think-tank report found a gap between historical inflation figures and those that can be calculated based on the supposed weights assigned to the various components of the consumer price basket.
The inference was that the NBS might have been massaging reported data by changing weightings without informing the public.
“While only publishing the sub-indices of eight categories but not releasing changes in basket weightings, there is an opportunity to adjust the CPI figure,” wrote Xu Qiyuan, author of the report.
It’ll be hard to claim an outside bias on this one. However, it should be noted that such internal criticism coming out so openly is actually a sign of transparency.