Lights are on but no one’s working: How local governments are faking Coronavirus recovery | Caixin Global

“Local companies and officials are fraudulently boosting electricity consumption and other metrics in order to meet tough new back-to-work targets as the spread of Covid-19 in China wanes, a Caixin investigation has found.

As new coronavirus cases in China slowed in recent weeks, local governments in less-affected regions pushed companies and factories to return to work, typically by assigning concrete targets to district officials. Company insiders and local civil servants told Caixin that, under pressure to fulfill quotas they could not otherwise meet, they deftly cooked the books.

Leaving lights and air conditioners on all day long in empty offices, turning on manufacturing equipment, faking staff rosters and even coaching factory workers to lie to inspectors are just some of the ways they helped manufacture flashy statistics on the resumption of business for local governments to report up the chain.”

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