China had tried for a year to undermine data showing it is poised to surpass the United States as the world’s biggest economy in 2014 based on purchasing power because it was worried about the international pressure and responsibility that come with the status, the Financial Times reported Thursday, citing people who helped prepare the report.
“A year ago, there was a huge debate. China wanted to throw this out. They don’t want to be seen as number one. They’re worried about the political implications with the US,” the source was quoted as saying. “They begged and threatened for a whole year . . . China hates it.”
Because of Chinese officials’ objections, the report, released on Tuesday by the International Comparison Program (ICP) under the auspices of the World Bank, had to say that the “National Bureau of Statistics of China has expressed reservations about some aspects of the methodology”, and the bureau “does not endorse the results as official statistics”, according to the newspaper.
“On a per-capita basis, China is still a very poor country so it does not want to be asked to do too much on the international stage – at least not yet,” an adviser to Chinese policymakers was quoted as saying.
Bloomberg News quoted the ICP report as saying that China is poised to overtake the US as the world’s largest economy, while India has leaped into third place, ahead of Japan, based on purchasing power parity.
China’s economy was 87 percent the size of the US’ as of 2011, compared with 43 percent in 2005, the ICP said on Wednesday, using calculations that take exchange rates into account.
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