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Wed, Mar 20, 2002 - Page 21 News List

Economist questions China's growth

AFP , HONG KONG

China's economy is growing at a far slower pace than Chinese official data indicate, a US economist said yesterday.

Lester Thurow, a professor of economics and management at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, said economic data released by Beijing were unbelievable and did not reflect the nation's true economic situation.

Although China has a very successful export sector, the domestic economy is not as successful as Beijing portrays it to be, he told a conference organised by Credit Suisse First Boston.

Thurow questioned how China could have posted strong growth -- 7.3 percent according to official figures -- when Hong Kong, a major financial and economic centre for southern China saw virtually no growth.

"Tell me how that works. One of the numbers has to be wrong. Both can't be right. You decide which you believe," he said.

Other abberations included China's inflation rate falling virtually from 10 percent to zero within one year, while its economy continued to see stable growth.

He also questioned how China's exports could be "bopping up and down like crazy" over the past five years while the economy had remained stable.

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