In China, the central government assesses local governments based on data monitored and reported by local agencies, and the accuracy of local statistics has been controversial. In order to further guarantee the authenticity and reliability of surface water monitoring data, the central government will gradually withdraw the local monitoring powers of the national surface water assessment section and implement third-party monitoring to achieve “national assessment and national monitoring.” This paper is based on the time-point water data of important national water quality automatic monitoring stations from 2015 to 2020, using the McCrary (2008) density test to infer possible data manipulation phenomena, and analyze whether third-party monitoring has improved the accuracy of China’s environmental data. The results of the study show that between 2015 and 2020, the observed 81 monitoring sites had varying degrees of data discontinuity. The discontinuity of the data after third-party monitoring was reduced in dissolved oxygen (DO) measurement, an important indicator in the assessment, implying that third-party monitoring has improved the quality of water environment data and the accuracy of the data. The research in this article provides a reference for third-party participation in environmental governance and proves that the participation of these organizations can reduce data manipulation behaviors of local governments and ensure the effectiveness of environmental data.
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