The central government has announced that a system to verify the circulation of mainland newspapers and magazines is being drawn up and will soon be unveiled. An official from the publishing industry governing body, the General Administration of Press and Publications (GAPP), said an auditing system was being developed and would be introduced as soon as possible, the People's Daily reported. No additional details were provided. Cheng Changfeng, the deputy dean of journalism and communications at Peking University, said: 'Many people, both inside and outside the industry, are clearly aware that a lot of mainland newspapers and magazines exaggerate their circulation figures.' She said they did so in an attempt to attract advertisers. A row over circulation figures recently erupted after the Paris-based World Association of Newspapers drew up a list of what it said were the world's 20 top-selling newspapers. The list, which was printed in the Beijing-based Legal Daily, ranked three mainland newspapers in the top 20: Cankao Xiaoxi (Reference News), People's Daily and the Yangcheng Evening News, saying they were number 9, 18 and 20 in the world with daily sales of 2.7 million, 1.86 million and 1.5 million, respectively. The newspaper association took the figures from a GAPP annual publication. The report caused a furore in the mainland's media, with many of the named newspapers' rivals claiming that the figures published were false. 'The disputes over the figures indicate the chaotic state of the media industry in China,' said Chen Gang, a communications professor from Peking University. He said that the move to implement a transparent and accurate form of circulation auditing was being driven by the major advertisers and agencies. 'They suffer from the current system because they pour money into publications that are cheating them and the mass readers,' he said.