Friday, January 29, 2016

A Bad Sign

The government of China is investigating the head of it’s own National Bureau of Statistics for corruption. This bit from the BBC sounds Orwellian:

The Central Commission for Discipline Inspection said that Wang Baoan was "suspected of serious violation of discipline", a phrase that usually refers to corruption.

It gave no further details of the investigation.

The announcement came hours after he held a media briefing on the state of China's economy.

Here’s a CV for Wang Baoan. His briefing was about capital outflows being more than double what was forecast for last year. Here’s what the South China Morning Post (the big newspaper in Hong Kong) said.:

The sound bites were broadcast on state radio’s main daily news bulletin. But minutes later the news presenter read out a brief statement about the investigation into Wang. The apparently hasty arrangement is rare given the tight editorial and censorship procedures at top state media.

It’s possible that this genuinely related to a criminal issue.

However, it’s more likely that this is about either 1) Wang not producing lower and more realistic GDP growth numbers, or 2) Wang being the one who wanted lower and more realistic numbers and being shut up for saying so. Who knows?

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