China, whose confidential economic data was published by media before the official announcement, would investigate the leak, National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) spokesman Li Xiaochao said on Thursday at a briefing.

China's second quarter economic data before it was supposed to be published Thursday, Li Xiaochao, NBS spokesman, said Thursday at a press conference.

China's economy grew by 7.9% in the second quarter from a year earlier, the Beijing Times reported on Thursday, citing an unnamed official who revealed the figures on a Beijing-based forum.

Similar rumors of a 7.1% pace of growth for the first half circulated in local financial markets on Wednesday.

The economic data, which was seen as confidential, was due to be released at 10 am Thursday at the press conference.

However, Li as NBS spokesman said that he read the news before he attended the press conference. The Chinese government had paid close attention to the impact of releasing the data in advance, according to Li.

The same thing happened last year, when Reuters said on July 8 that China's annual consumer price inflation eased to 7.1% that June, from 7.7% in May, citing two government sources, ChinaDaily said.

The leak came 10 days before the official data was supposed to be published.

Li was cited by ChinaDaily as saying We will investigate the case according to certain rules and procedures.

As the leak came after the case of Rio Tinto employees getting access to confidential figures, the spokesman didn't mention if it had broken China's secrecy law.

Late last month, China's top legislature reviewed for the first time a draft revision to the Law on Guarding State Secrets, underlining the cutoff of Internet or other public network access to the country's confidential information.

The draft revision would minimize the number of people having access to state secrets and set up more scientific secret recognition, rating and termination procedures amid efforts to improve efficiency.

According to the existing law on guarding state secrets, state secrets refer to classified information including national economic and social development and other items that are classified as state secrets by the state secret protection departments.