Chinese GDP Data: How Reliable?

The WSJ reports:
How big is the Chinese economy? Answering that question is not as straightforward as looking up the number on the National Bureau of Statistics website. China’s GDP data is haunted by controversy, with widespread doubts about its accuracy.
The release last year of U.S. diplomatic cables by Wikileaks has added further fuel to the fire. Records of a 2007 conversation between China’s Vice Premier Li Keqiang – then the Party Secretary of Liaoning province, and U.S. Ambassador Clark Randt – revealed that Mr. Li had little faith in the GDP data, at least at the provincial level.
A smiling Mr. Li said that the GDP data was “man made” and “for reference only,” according to the Wikileaks cable. To keep track of growth he preferred to look at three different indicators: electricity output, freight hauled by rail and bank loans.
But is the man tipped to be China’s next premier right to distrust the GDP data?
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