On July 30th, Caixin News reported that, according to Shanghai Jiao Tong University’s Center for the Third Sector’s report, the official GDP data of social organizations is far less than the actual data. An official from Ministry of Civil Affairs (MOCA) later did an interview with Caixin explaining the differences between the numbers, and also confirmed that there might be errors in the raw data that had been announced.
According to Shanghai Jiao Tong University’s related research, in 2013 Chinese social organizations contributed a total of 406.8 billion yuan to national GDP, which is 7 times larger than the government’s numbers. The Jiao Tong University’s report then says the data announced by the Ministry of Civil Affairs can’t properly reflect how much social organizations are contributing to national GDP. He Shanshan from MOCA claimed that people did not fully understand the official statistical system. He Shanshan later pointed out that there are two main concepts that most people are interpreting incorrectly. The first is that “employed population” does not equal “remunerated population”, for example, many part-time workers should be excluded from the calculation. And another concept that people had misunderstood was the added value of private non enterprise organizations, including privately-run schools and hospitals (民办学校和民办医院). He explained that the Ministry only included those that went through all the examination and approval procedures, and that it also use different statistical methods from other government agencies.
Some people have also questioned why, according to the Ministry of Civil Affair’s data, the GDP contribution of social organizations has actually declined. In response to that, He Shanshan mentioned other reasons that could lead to differences between the data. For example the base values used by different organizations during data collection could vary. Another reason could be some organizations not participating in data collection on a regular basis. Due to difficulties during data collection for social organizations, He Shanshan admitted that there could be errors in the official data.