Authentic voices. Remarkable stories. AOL On Originals showcase the passions that make the world a more interesting place.
The story of punk rock singer Laura Jane Grace of Against Me! who came out as a woman in 2012, and other members of the trans community whose experiences are woefully underrepresented and misunderstood in the media.
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(SOUNDBITE) (English) REUTERS REPORTER, TARA JOSEPH, SAYING: "Damn lies and statistics, John. I know that saying's been around ...
for a long time but you've been adding up the GDP figures out of China
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(SOUNDBITE) (English) REUTERS REPORTER, TARA JOSEPH, SAYING: "Damn lies and statistics, John. I know that saying's been around for a long time but you've been adding up the GDP figures out of China this week and it doesn't quite make sense." (SOUNDBITE) (English) REUTERS BREAKINGVIEWS CHINA EDITOR, JOHN FOLEY, SAYING: "Yeah China's growing more slowly but that growth is no more believable this year. Of the 28 provinces that have so far reported their GDP figures, those numbers already add up to about four or five percent more than the national total reported by the central government. So really the message is that although China is going for slower growth, you still have to take what you read with a pinch of salt." (SOUNDBITE) (English) REUTERS REPORTER, TARA JOSEPH, SAYING: "So if we take that with a pinch of salt, what about government debt? Because that's what everybody's really worried about this year, that rising number. Is it much more inflated than we really believe?" (SOUNDBITE) (English) REUTERS BREAKINGVIEWS CHINA EDITOR, JOHN FOLEY, SAYING: "Well there are two reasons why you should treat any number in China with suspicion. One is just gathering data in the country is very difficult. It's extremely big, 1.3 billion people. And there are a mixture of central and provincial agencies taxed with finding out what's really going on the ground. That's as true the banking sector as it is for things like GDP. So banks in China are all managing upwards to their bosses. They're all reporting a mixture of the figures they actually see and the figures they think their bosses want to see. So for example, a recent government audit into local government borrowings came out with a figure of around 20 billion kuai in debt, which frankly, no one really believes because it's almost impossible to know really what these governments have borrowed. And they really don't want to tell us. So the bad news for investors is that you have to use a mixture of your common sense and what you see on the ground. And treat with extreme caution any number that's handed down from above." (SOUNDBITE) (English) REUTERS REPORTER, TARA JOSEPH, SAYING: "So in this process of managing up, John, are figures just being made up? How are they being put about?" (SOUNDBITE) (English) REUTERS BREAKINGVIEWS CHINA EDITOR, JOHN FOLEY, SAYING: "Well there are two things really going on behind these numbers. One is the bad behavior as local governments massaging up their numbers because they want to appear more productive than their neighbors. It's a process called 'adding water' in China. That certainly happens to a large degree and probably is getting worse rather than better. The other issue though is that data collection in China is very patchy. It's a huge country. Some data is collected locally, some is collected nationally. And in particular, when provinces trade with each other, those numbers can get double counted. A company that's in one province but does business in another, both provincial bosses may want to report that as part of their own GDP. So it's a mixture of inaccuracy by design and inaccuracy by accident." (SOUNDBITE) (English) REUTERS REPORTER, TARA JOSEPH, SAYING: "Adding water, patchy figures, hard to read - I don't know if we should really pay attention to these anymore." ENDS