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Chinese statisticians to broaden focus from GDP

Updated: Sep 12,2014 4:37 PM     Xinhua

China’s top statistical authority on Sept 12 announced a broader accounting regime that aims to shift officials’ overriding obsession with GDP and place more weight on environmental and social development.

Under the new system of statistical indicators, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) has ordered statisticians nationwide to focus more on economic stability, structural optimization and industrial upgrading, innovation, the environment and improving people’s livelihoods.

“For a long time, government statistics have emphasized GDP and its growth too much,” the NBS said in a statement on its website. “Under the new situation, we need to shift our attention to positive changes in the quality and benefits of economic development.”

More than 40 core indicators, including debt-to-fiscal revenue ratio, services-to-GDP ratio, resident consumption, urbanization rate and R&D spending-to-GDP ratio, will be regularly published by statistical departments.

The revision of the NBS statistical regime came after Chinese leaders have sought to transform the economic growth mode and protect the environment through more sustainable, balanced development.

Previously, the country’s statisticians released a raft of data on GDP growth, investment and consumption, the consumer price index and other indicators that reflect the performance of the economy.

Chinese officials have long been obsessed with growing GDP as economic performance has been the most important factor in their promotion prospects.

However, many people say the situation is to blame for a widening income gap, worsening environment and increasing land seizures in China.

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