China corruption: Communist Party expels ex-Nanjing chief for ‘faking economic figures’
- Zhang Jinghua was found to have ‘faked economic figures for personal promotion and meddled in market activities in violation of relevant rules’
- The former deputy party chief of Jiangsu province is also accused of accepting ‘money and gifts’ and ‘seeking benefits for others in appointment of officials’
China has expelled a former top official of eastern Jiangsu province from the Communist Party with a rare accusation of fabricating economic data.
Zhang Jinghua, a former deputy party chief of Jiangsu, was found to have “faked economic figures for personal promotion and meddled in market activities in violation of relevant rules,” the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI) said in a statement on Tuesday.
It did not provide specifics of the accusation, but it is rare for senior provincial officials to face such a charge.
Last week, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said lower-level officials in Hebei, Henan and Guizhou provinces had been punished for fabricating data on fixed-asset investment, retail sales and other areas.
Statistics authorities across the country have long been criticised for releasing questionable data and overestimating economic growth, population and many other indicators.
In the past few years, provinces including Liaoning, Jilin, Tianjin and Inner Mongolia were forced to revise data after they were found to have inflated or manipulated economic statistics.
Zhang, 59, was also accused of accepting “money and gifts” and “seeking benefits for others in appointment of officials,” the country’s top disciplinary watchdog said.
He oversaw the provincial capital Nanjing as the city’s party chief from 2017 until early 2021, and was then promoted to deputy provincial party chief in February last year, before being placed under investigation in December.
The disciplinary watchdog said his case will be handed over to prosecutors.
On Monday, the NBS announced further details of the crackdown on falsification of statistical data.
The world has long questioned the credibility of China’s data, especially at a time when the country is under downward economic pressure.
In March, an anti-corruption inspection team announced that it would step up scrutiny of the country’s statistical agencies to address “prominent problems” of data fabrication and falsification.
NBS director Kang Yi said on Monday that the problem of statistical falsification still exist within China and that rectifying the problem would be a long-term, complex and arduous task.
He stressed that the statistics department would use a variety of measures to investigate and punish officials for statistical violations and expose a number of typical cases of statistical falsification.