Beijing Sacks Minister of National Bureau of Statistics

October 16, 2006 12:00 am Last Updated: October 16, 2006 12:00 am

CHINA – On October 12, without warning, the State Council dismissed Qiu Xiaohua, Minister of the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS). Since Qiu is a high-profile official and also the Bureau's Party Chief, his dismissal has caught international media attention.

Unusual Dismissal

According to an insider, the Communist regime handled this matter very quickly. On the morning of October 12, Qiu was taken away. That afternoon, the CCP Central Organization Department Vice-Minister went to NBS to make the announcement, and in the evening, the formal announcement was made through the regime's official mouthpiece, the Xinhua news agency. Qiu's successor, Xie Fuzhan, was the assistant director of the Development Research Center of the State Council.

According to a Takungpao report on October 13, the NBS website had already deleted all information related to Qiu. Xinhua website articles praising Qiu have also disappeared.

Some observers pointed out that Qiu's quiet dismissal was very unusual. Usually, a high ranking official with expertise, young, promising and in the public eye, would not be dismissed this way. The announcement would state “appointed to another post” in order to avoid public speculation.

Unofficial Statements

In Qiu's short seven months as Minister, his conduct and views were extremely conspicuous. It is said that he was not enthusiastic about the “green GDP” that State Council leaders initiated. He took the position that, “There is much controversy in both theory and implementation, it has many difficulties.” The economic community has criticized his comments.

On the issue of China's macroeconomic regulation, Qiu has always thought that China's high investment growth rate is not the reason the economy is over-heating. He did not advocate suppressing investment aggressively.

A commentary in the Hong Kong “Oriental Daily News” provided an analysis that Qiu's dismissal could have been caused by “disaster emanates from careless talk,” when he published some speeches that conflicted with China's macroeconomic regulation policy.

Speculation Abounds

Some rumors purport that Qiu's sudden dismissal was caused by a “serious violation of regulations.” However, no high level regime officials would clarify this when questioned by this reporter.

Other media indicated that he was involved in the former Shanghai Party Chief Chen Liangyu's case.

Qiu Xiaohua was born in January 1958, in Ninghwa, Fujian Province. Qiu holds a Ph.D. in economics and was appointed Minister of the National Bureau of Statistics in March 2006. He is also a Committee Member of the Tenth Session of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference.