Changing China

Giant on the move

Love the Motherland, Love Statistics

August 13, 2009

The next time anyone questions the reliability of Chinese statistics, they should first spare a thought for the sensitive, earnest souls who gather the data. The National Bureau of Statistics asked its employees to craft poems to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the People’s Republic of China. 

Like Chinese growth surging beyond economists’ forecasts, their literary talents are sure to leave critics gasping for breath.

Here are three of the entrants in the poetry competition, “Statistics Affection: We Walk Together“.

by Yu Bo, statistician in Fujian province

Poor, Innocent
For the people, fill in the tables
True-to-facts, they can be relied upon
Ask for the source of numbers, say no to fakes
The whole nation moves forward, a blessing for people of all nationalities
For 60 years, strengthening the roots  of the Chinese nation

In the Sea of Numbers
by Yu Jiao, statistician in Zhejiang province

No beautiful languages
But endless calls day after day
No flowers or applause
But doubts and suspicion from others
No melting sceneries
But a bunch of dry numbers flowing

But, we keep on
As we know
It is our course
A course of heavy tasks and winding roads!
The pace of forward marching needs measurement by statistics
The take-off of the economy needs proof from statistics.

Love the Motherland, Love Statistics
by Wang Jiaowei, statistician in Shandong province

How many times, for a poll, or a survey
I work as busy as a bee, or an ant
How many times, for a formula, or a data series,
I toss and turn in bed, sleepless the whole night
How many times, for completing a form, or an indicator
I awake from excitement in dreams, to wake my wife as well

In life
Some may laugh at me for doing statistics
Some may look down upon me or my statistics
Some may find it hard to understand what statistics are
And some may wonder why they are included in statistics
Alas, for me, I can smile
Because of statistics
I can dig out the deepest secrets
Because of statistics
I am not alone any more, I can play in the numbers
Because of statistics
I can re-arrange the stars in the sky
Because of statistics
I can have a unique life, and live more meaningfully
I love my life, and my statistics

(Translations by Zhou Xin)

Photo credit: A vendor rests in front of a banner displaying mobile phone numbers at a shop in Shanghai March 10, 2009. REUTERS/Aly Song


As long as statistics are to serve the revolution, we can only see politics in the numbers, not facts.

Posted by Bill Rich | Report as abusive

Statistics in China is a joke.Given their penchant for secrecy, they would hide an earthquake.

Posted by S.V.Ramanan | Report as abusive

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