1. Economic data
The growth of the Chinese economy is a good-news story that has generally required only light touches of the censor's red pen, but with an expected slowdown in China's economy coupled with the world economy more dependent on Chinese growth than ever before, the markets would love to get a closer look at China Inc.'s books to reassure themselves that the economic miracle is predicated on numbers that add up. Honesty is key to market confidence, and Beijing has been open in reporting many of the worrying indicators, such as weak manufacturing output, emerging about its economy's medium-term prospects.
Yet there are suggestions that Beijing is becoming less, not more, transparent when it comes to the economy. Recently, the government began withholding financial reports about Chinese companies from foreign investors -- information that it previously made available. And in May, Beijing ruled that the local affiliates of the "Big Four" international auditing firms must be managed by Chinese nationals by 2017 if they want to continue auditing Chinese company accounts. This follows the resignation last year of a number of Western auditors working on Chinese company books after they claimed to have discovered irregularities.
If Beijing is anticipating a run of grim economic data, its natural inclination may be to keep more and more statistics out of the public domain. In 2007, a government report was commissioned detailing the economic cost of the environmental damage suffered as a result of the country's modernization, featuring data from both the State Environmental Protection Administration, and the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), the governmental agency that compiles the government's social and economic statistics. Senior government figures evidently found it uncomfortable reading, and never released the data.STR/AFP/GettyImages