Chinese officials in northern Shandong province used fabricated data to help aluminum and steel producers escape mandatory production cuts, Reuters reported Dec. 26, citing the state-run China Youth Daily.
"Local official[s] have covered up for aluminum producers, leading them to build up their capacity," the publication wrote, citing a letter from a Ministry of Environmental Protection inspection team.
Officials in Binzhou city used fake certificates and false data to gain clearance for the construction of 2.4 million tonnes of new aluminum production capacity in 2014, the ministry noted.
Meanwhile, major steel producer Rizhao Steel was still running a mill with about 6.0 million tonnes of capacity that was due to close in 2015.
China has implemented its most stringent measures on the heavy industry, including aluminum, coal and steel, in a bid to curb air pollution.