Thursday, 12 November 2009

Cooked Books?


I read William Lowther's front-page piece in thursday's Taipei Times, with some interest. Although the conclusion with which he leads will certainly receive support in some quarters, Mr Lowther failed to direct your readers' rapt attention to the facts which would seem to warrant his conclusion.

Since your own reporting (!) on China's third quarter economic performance revealed little of interest to a discerning reader, perhaps I may be permitted to perform this service here in your letters page for free:

There have been, throughout this year, some rather suspicious discrepancies in the published statistics. Figures showing increases in industrial output on the order of around 10% do not sit well with figures showing continuing drops in electricity consumption from between 5% and 10% throughout China's most important industrial provinces (e.g. Sichuan, Guandong, Zhejiang). Although Chinese officials attempt to explain such apparent discrepancies away as being due to changes in products and manufacturing methods, it seems to my conniving mind that there is a more obvious conclusion to draw.

China's official statistics on the state of their economic performance are not to be trusted.

Please make a start at doing your jobs properly.

Yours sincerely,
Michael Fagan

(Tipped off by this piece by Brian Micklethwait over at Samizdata).

(Sent: Thursday November 12th 2009. Unpublished by the Taipei Times)

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