From the Globe and Mail (registration required):
China’s statistics used to be state secrets. That has been changing — but even now there are doubts about how reliable official numbers are. While some experts fear that data collection is simply not scientific enough, others argue that figures on China’s true population, economic growth rate and actual military expenditure are manipulated for political purposes. Few have expected the Chinese government to revise its own numbers. But that is exactly what has happened in the past two weeks, and in a very significant way.