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China Voice: Can frugality prevail in China?

English.news.cn   2014-05-28 22:38:22

BEIJING, May 28 (Xinhua) -- Frugal lifestyles are gaining some popularity in China.

The central authority launched a nationwide campaign on Tuesday to encourage people to work and live frugally, and it not the beginning of the top-down war against extravagance.

When Xi Jinping took the helm of the Communist Party of China in November 2012, China began a fight against extravagance, calling the campaign a "fulcrum" to rectify officials' work styles.

CPC and government officials, who should have been models of frugality, have instead competed in ostentation and extravagance, leading to huge spending, waste and a strong public backlash. A series of detailed directives, such as requiring officials to travel with smaller entourages and simplifying receptions have been introduced.

Extravagance not only challenges public trust in the CPC and government, but clashes with China's actual situation. While acknowledging Americans and Australians have some of the biggest carbon footprints, U.S. President Barack Obama said in an Australian TV interview in 2010 that, "if over a billion Chinese citizens have the same living patterns as Australians and Americans do right now then all of us are in for a very miserable time. The planet just can't sustain it."

Though Obama might have made the remarks out of his personal concerns, there is an element of truth in what he said. High consumption patterns and extravagance are simply not be a suitable path for China. Instead, they will impose an unbearable weight on this most populous of countries. Frugality is a traditional Chinese virtue.

An old Chinese saying advises people to shun blind pursuit of extravagance: "Even if you have 10,000 hectares of fertile farmland, you can only eat so much rice in a day; if you have 1,000 mansions, you can only sleep in one bed."

Promoting the frugal lifestyle is vital to sustainable development and the environment, and mean a healthier public.

Government organs, institutions, state-owned enterprises, non-profit organizations and officials at all levels should set an examples by putting an end to extravagance. Young people must be taught to stay frugal.

Instead of being a mere advocator of frugality, it is more effective to turn everyone into a practitioner of it.

(To stay up to date with the latest China news, follow XHNews on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/XHNews and Xinhua News Agency on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/XinhuaNewsAgency.)

Editor: yan
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