By AN BAIJIE
BEIJING, Dec. 14 (Xinhuanet) -- Local governments are not allowed to send various gifts, including fruit and vegetables, to the Ministry of Agriculture on New Year's Day or during Spring Festival, an official from the country's top anti-corruption watchdog said on Friday.
The ministry also urged affiliated departments to cancel various celebrations and banquets during the holidays to save on public spending, said Zhu Baocheng, head of the ministry's inspection team sent from the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection of the Communist Party of China.
Zhu said that the ban on festival gifts is in line with the "eight-point" rules, which were put forward by the Communist Party of China Central Committee last December.
Aiming to bridge ties between the public and government officials, the rules require the officials to lead a frugal lifestyle and improve work efficiency.
The ministry's expenses on receptions, government vehicles and official trips this year have been cut by 5.25 million yuan ($864,000) compared with last year, Zhu said.
A leading official of an institute under the ministry was punished after he was found of spending 30,000 yuan on a new set of office furniture in August.
Another department head in the ministry bought moon cakes with 30,000 yuan during the Mid-Autumn Festival, he said.
The disciplinary authorities will enhance supervision during the upcoming festivals to prevent corruption, Zhu added.
Zhu made the remarks while attending an online interview with the CPC Central Commission for Discipline Inspection.
Hou Chang'an, secretary of the Hubei Provincial Commission for Discipline Inspection, said that a total of 2,911 officials in the province have been punished for violating the rules to improve work style as of late November.
The provincial anti-graft authorities found a total of 159 over-standard government vehicles during the campaign to implement the "eight-point" rules.
And a total of 181 officials have been urged to move out of their illegally occupied houses, Hou said.
Five departments were found to be in violation of rules governing construction of government buildings, those responsible have been punished, he added.
The provincial disciplinary authorities punished 13 officials who were found playing lottery games during work hours in September, Hou said.
In the nationwide campaign to implement the "eight-point" rules, at least 22 provinces and 56 ministries and commissions have returned official vehicles that were kept in violation of rules, the Beijing News reported on Friday.
At least 13 ministry-level officials have been investigated on allegations of corruption since the Party's new leadership was elected in November last year.
The latest case occurred on Dec 6, when the CPC Central Commission for Discipline Inspection announced on its website that Chen Anzhong, deputy director of the Standing Committee of the Jiangxi Provincial People's Congress, was under investigation for grave violations of discipline.
A total of 16,699 officials have been punished for violating the frugality guidelines as of the end of September, the CPC Central Commission for Discipline Inspection said on Nov 18.
Mao Shoulong, a professor of public administration at Renmin University of China, said that anti-corruption authorities will enhance supervision by dispatching more inspection teams to government bodies.
The anti-graft efforts have increased the Party's credibility and boosted government transparency, he said.
(Source: China Daily)
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