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No 'zombie' websites or faked stats, China tells officials

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BEIJING (Reuters) – China will crack down on government departments responsible for “zombie” websites that have not been updated for years, telephone lines that are never answered and fake statistics, the ruling Communist Party said on Tuesday.

Part of President Xi Jinping’s war on corruption has also taken aim at lazy bureaucrats who waste time on red tape and simply mouth slogans without putting into effect government policies.

In its latest missive to crack down on such behaviour, the party’s anti-graft watchdog the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection detailed the types of actions it would be going after.

That includes officials who hold meetings simply for the sake of holding meetings, “mechanically” spout slogans, and “swallow dates whole”, or read hastily and without thinking what they are actually looking at, the watchdog said.

Officials have to take seriously the concerns of their citizens and try to tackle their problems with enthusiasm, and are not allowed to run “zombie” websites that are never updated and service telephone lines which are never answered, it added.

Economic issues are mentioned too, specifically those that involve officials sitting on their hands or acting “chaotically” when it comes to economic work and reform, such as faking statistics, covering up problems or lying about them, the watchdog said.

China has long tried to rein in fake statistics. Last year, the “rustbelt” northeastern province of Liaoning said it had falsified reporting of fiscal data from 2011 to 2014.

However, the new guidelines do not specific punishments for those who break the rules.

(Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Simon Cameron-Mooe)

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