(Li Min/China Daily)
The government of Ningshan County in Northwest China's Shaanxi province said its tourism revenue was 1.4 billion yuan (0 million) over the three-day May Day holiday from April 29 to May 1. But later admitted it had made a mistake and the figure was actually 140 million yuan. Xiaoxiang Morning News comments:
Ningshan's slip-of-the-pen error was exposed when Ankang city, where Ningshan, one of 11 counties is located, said its May Day holiday tourism revenue was 1.9 billion yuan.
Generally speaking, there is a strict procedure for government to release statistics, and the chance of enlarging the amount tenfold is slim. That's why the netizens have tended to believe the county government intentionally exaggerated its tourism revenue. Especially as the local governments in Liaoning province, Tianjin and the Inner Mongolia autonomous region were found to have fudged their gross domestic product data.
Economic data remains the major criterion for evaluating the performance of local officials. If it had not been a "clerical error", Ningshan's exorbitantly high tourism revenue would have directly boosted the county's annual economic figures, which would have made a very positive starting paragraph in the local governor's work report for the year, and be testimony to the capability of officials in the related fields.
The county government's apology should not be an end to the incident. To prevent the same scenario from happening again, the higher authorities in Ankang city or Shaanxi province should look into the case to verify who should take the blame for the bold clerical error, which, if it had gone unspotted, would have benefited many people at almost no cost.