Can We Trust The Data Coming Out Of China?

It's a question we're seeing debated more often on TV and radio news.

'One reason why many think China is too corrupt is that it's too hard to make money,' said a woman named "Bella" on Sina Weibo, the Chinese equivalent of Twitter, last December. The story was featured on an online Chinese magazine - but the author, Guo Yuesheng (張像德), wasn't exactly a fan of Xi Jinping's autocratic style.

'Xi Jinping is like an over-excited kid that is going through adolescence in a very long period - to become a leader you have to reach all types of ages,' he said.

It's a point that resonated throughout China last year in the run up to the 2017 Lunar New Year holiday, when new leaders in Beijing, Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou meet in what is often called the Great Hall of the People for the first time.

The official party line is these leaders are ready on their first night, but many in the crowd are eager to know: is there anyone out there not in uniform?

'What's next, Xi Jinping or Trump?' the young woman from the video said to everyone in the room.

'Is that an elephant in the room? Let's talk about it. Because there's a lot coming up with Xi Jinping'

In May, in Xi's hometown of Shenyang in southwest China and in September, for the first time since he came into power in 2012, a group of senior figures in Shenyang were charged with corruption.

The Shenyang scandal follows the revelation in July that four senior officials in Shanghai's government were under investigation, as well as a string of corruption scandals in Beijing as well as in smaller regions.

The question of whether to trust China remains a pressing one, as many in the West have made clear that the country's economic reform effort is unsustainable without the help of the party in power.

'Xi Jinping is the head of the party, and the party is the only powerful power in China,' said the Chinese activist surnamed Zheng. 'He must rule China or we are doomed. He is the president of China, the highest level of any state leader, so when he is in power, he will always be a leader

Author: Jurang Lang