China’s graft watchdog said it identified cases of fake economic data in two northern provinces, the second announcement this year about unreliable figures. Some areas and companies in Jilin and certain places in Inner Mongolia falsified reports, the Communist Party’s Central Commission for Discipline Inspection said in statements late Sunday, without specifying what figures were manipulated, how widespread the practice was, or the timeframe. CCDI also said it found violations in the use of funding for poverty relief. The accuracy of China’s statistics has been questioned in the past as readings such as gross domestic product growth or jobless rates showed uncanny stability, while provincial officials previously had incentives to inflate growth numbers to enhance their careers. Liaoning province, which neighbors Jilin in the northeast, this year admitted faking fiscal data from 2011 to 2014. China’s National Bureau of Statistics, the nation’s top statistical agency, said in April that it established a new supervisory arm to ensure data authenticity and improve data quality.
Jilin, which borders North Korea, expanded at the second-slowest pace of all provincial regions in the first quarter. Its total output is roughly half that of Beijing. Inner Mongolia, with abundant coal and rare earth resources, also has less output than China’s capital. It reported an expansion faster than the national average in the January-to-March period.
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Parts of northern China have struggled as economic growth decelerates, with the heavy-industrial base Liaoning reporting a mere 2.4 percent expansion after a recession last year.