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Milkybar_Kid

Where can I find official statistics online for China?

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Milkybar_Kid

Hello,

 

If I want to find official statistics for the UK I can check out the Office for National Statistics (here: https://www.ons.gov.uk/) Does China have something similar?

 

Thanks

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Dawei3

China is very careful about the statistics it releases, so you may not be able to find credible ones from within the country.  A friend in Beijing recently asked me if I could send her news articles on China's economy, i.e., what she sees doesn't match official statistics.  Several years ago in the journal Science, a Chinese scientist noted that the government had passed a law against "statistical corruption."  He noted that in China, "numbers make the leader and leaders make the numbers," and the law was to try to fight this.  Local & provincial governments sometimes create numbers to meet central government criteria. 

On top of this, the central government also wants to portray a specific international image, so it also controls the information released.  


For a non-Chinese source:  https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/ch.html  

 

 

 

 

 

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Dawei3
3 hours ago, 大块头 said:

Thanks for posting!  A quite interesting article....  

 

That reporting false data is nothing new was also reflected in the book, Mao's Great Famine, 1958-1962.  At that time, Mao set higher & higher targets for rice production.  To show they were meeting the targets, provincial officials and others would add sand or water to the rice to increase it's weight.  Then they shipped the "extra" rice to the central government. Although rice production was probably declining, the added weight made it seem like production was increasing (yet, the rice was inedible).   A terrible famine resulted.      

 

The book, The Tao of Chinese Business, mentioned that a ratings organization (I believe it was Moody's) had reviewed the books of the major Chinese banks and concluded the books were meaningless.

 

Time will tell if the government can more successfully get people to report data more accurately (without "statistical corruption")

 

 

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mungouk
24 minutes ago, Dawei3 said:

if the government can more successfully get people to report data more accurately

 

In the age of "big data", facial tracking etc, even video-tracking of pigs, we might suspect that the aim is to remove people from the loop entirely and make it all automatic...?

 

(with the added benefit of making it even harder to dispute the numbers...)

 

 

 

 

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roddy

Some degree of credence is presumably given to Chinese economic data, or it wouldn't shift real world markets?

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Dawei3

Yes, some degree of credence is given.  Declines or increases in China's economic data can effect world markets.  

 

I've also seen companies that use indirect measures to try to have greater insight into the Chinese economy (I forget exactly what the measures were, it was something like using international data on shipments to China as a measure of Chinese economic activity).  And data from every country has limitations.  The key is being aware of the uncertainties and how the effect the data.

 

Nasim Taleb's book, Fooled by Randomness, has a very insightful look at how people often misjudge the importance of uncertainties in data.

 

Caterpillar, a company with decades of experience in China,  misjudged a situation badly:  https://www.forbes.com/sites/simonmontlake/2013/02/13/cat-scammed-how-a-u-s-corporation-blew-half-a-billion-in-china/#bda924278f5b

 

To mungouk's point, it will be interesting to see how 'big data" impacts this.  The computers still need to get the data from a credible source.  Presumably, if they are using enough difference sources, they may be able to find inconsistencies that suggest manipulation...   

 

 

 

 

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