Numerical Games and Official's Achievements

Qingyu Ma


This case study describes the conditions under which some local Chinese officials may use annual statistics work to overstate their achievements in order to earn praise and promotions.

Dan Jiangjou, a county-level city in Hubei province o China, reported that the average income of its villagers steadily increase since 1996. For this the county officials were praised and rewarded time and again. But behind this achievenet lies the plot o stretching the veracity of the numbers.

This paper examines weaknesses in the system that have permitted the officials to falsely report the statistics: Agricultural statistics data is not derived from an independent agency; the measure of economic growth in the countryside is too closely tied to the measure of the achievement of the government officals; and the present political system is one of excessive centralization, keeping the professional future of the local officials under the control of the more senior leaders, as opposed to the common people who have elected them. These three factors have worked together to create a numbers game in Dan Jiangkou City. 

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Chinese Public Administration Review (ISSN 1539-6754, Online ISSN 2573-1483)  is published by the School of Government, Sun Yat-sen University.