Chinese economist questions GDP growth

PUBLISHED : Friday, 18 January, 2013, 2:28pm
UPDATED : Friday, 18 January, 2013, 3:21pm

China released optimistic economic data on Friday, but economists and netizens greeted the figures with scepticism and ridicule.

“A reporter called and asked me to comment on today’s data, but wouldn't I be crazy to comment on a fake figure?” said Xu Xiaonian, a respected economist and professor at China Europe International Business School on his Weibo, China's twitter-like service.

China announced on Friday that its year-on-year GDP growth rose to 7.9 per cent in the last quarter of 2012.

What Xu and many others also refused to believe is the newly released Gini coefficient, an index reflecting the wealth gap.

The Chinese government said the figure has been declining since hitting 0.491 in 2008, dropping to 0.474 in 2012, according to a report by the Xinhua state news agency on Friday.

“Speaking of our Gini coefficient, even in fairy tales they wouldn’t dare to write like that,” Xu said.

“Haven’t we always lived in a fairy tale?” commented a netizen.

“All the rich people have emigrated and that’s why our Gini coefficient is declining,” said another.