China is facing huge employment pressure due to the economic downturn caused by the Zero-Covid policy and a record number of graduates. During a recent visit to Sichuan, Chinese leader Xi Jinping said that some university job placement data are fabricated.
According to China’s official data, the country has a record 10.76 million new college graduates this year.
The latest data from China’s National Bureau of Statistics shows that the urban survey unemployment rate is 6.1%, especially the unemployment rate of the 16-24 age group is as high as 18.2%. The number far exceeded that of Europeans and the U.S.
According to a special article from the China state-controlled media Xinhua News Agency, during his university’s visit in Sichuan, Xi warned that some schools fabricated data in order to pursue a high job placement rate. Xi said that the job placement data should be correct and that the authorities and students are aware of the data manipulation.
Since 2004 China’s Ministry of Education has taken the job placement rate as one of the critical indicators to evaluate the performance of colleges and universities.
In 2011, the education governing body issued a notice saying that if a college major’s job placement rate is less than 60% for two consecutive years, the admission of the major must be adjusted.
As a result, in order to improve the job placement rate, some universities link student graduation requirements to student job placement rates.
Citing Caixin, Liberty Times reported that a finance-major student from a Henan college confirmed in early March that her school forces students to submit an employment agreement before receiving a graduation degree. Students who have no job offer with signed employment contracts will not be allowed to participate in the graduation thesis defense.
Chinese-language media Secret China comments that college students with fake contracts and fake employment are no secret in Chinese mainland universities. Many students do not actually have job offers because they use friends and family firms as employment contracts instead. Some universities reportedly provide students with false employment contracts for on-campus research assistants to improve student job placement rates.
China has long been the subject of data falsification and manipulation, given the long history of statistical fraud.
In 2020, the New York Federal Reserve detailed in a report the inconsistencies of China’s official statistics compared to factual figures.
The Heritage Foundation also said in a report in 2020 that “Chinese information is hard to verify. Chinese data sources may suddenly no longer be available for unexplained reasons or resume without necessarily noting changes in metrics or what is counted. The Chinese also deliberately obscure or conceal data—and will at times issue misleading or false data.”
China’s second most powerful man and current Premier Li Keqiang, used to be head of the Communist Party in northeastern Liaoning province a while back further, in 2010. He said that most figures, especially GDP statistics, were “for reference only.”