Xi tells Liaoning officials to clean up their political act and stop faking data

President calls for establishment of ‘clean political ecology’ in province that issued fraudulent figures and saw massive vote-rigging scandal

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 08 March, 2017, 9:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 08 March, 2017, 9:00am

Chinese President Xi Jinping on Tuesday warned officials in Liaoning to stop producing fake economic data, after the province was engulfed in scandals over inflating its income.

Xi also demanded that politicians from the province, which saw an unprecedented vote rigging scandal last year, establish a “clean political ecology”.

In a meeting with National People’s Congress deputies from the rust-belt province, Xi said that measures should be taken to support local industrial development. State-owned enterprises should play a key role in that development, he said.

Chinese province admits to cooking its books

However, he said “the practice [of faking economic data] must be stopped”.

In January, Liaoning Governor Chen Qiufa admitted that the government had been cooking its economic data from 2011 to 2014, using fraudulent figures to influence central-government decision making. Officials used the fake data to advance their careers.

State media reported that some governments inflated their fiscal income by as much as 23 per cent in 2014.

Liaoning province reported a contraction in economic growth last year, being weighed down by struggling state-owned enterprises and a lack of investment from both private and foreign companies.

In addition to economic problems, the province was also embroiled in a political scandal, with 45 provincial lawmakers sacked for bribing their way into office in August last year.

“The norms of irregularities in personnel arrangement should be stopped,” Xi told the panel discussion. “Only the right person should be appointed.”

Fresh doubts raised over reliability of China’s latest GDP figures

On Sunday, Li Xi, the provincial party chief, lashed out at his disgraced predecessor Wang Min, accusing him of disregarding the party’s authority in a massive legislative vote-buying scandal.

Sources in Liaoning told the South China Morning Post that top party leaders in Beijing were enraged when the widespread vote-buying meant that the Communist Party’s favoured candidates failed to win legislative seats in 2013.