BEIJING, Jan. 22 (Xinhua) -- Chinese officials have won public acclaim with less extravagance, but they need to remember that frugality must be accompanied by practical efforts that benefit the people.
Red carpets, fruits, flowers, banners and balloons have disappeared from conference venues for local legislative and political consultative sessions held recently.
In Beijing, menus for reception banquets have slimmed down, with the numbers of dishes nearly halved in comparison with previous years.
An organizer for a legislative session in the city of Hohhot, capital of north China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, said that he expects a 20-percent reduction in conference expenditures from previous years.
The new practices are in line with the requirements of the leaders of China's ruling party, which vowed to reject extravagance and reduce bureaucracy to win public trust and support.
The economical meeting arrangements are also believed to be part of the country's efforts to establish clean governance, as public spending on lavish official receptions is regarded as a major source of corruption.
However, the trend of frugality should only act as an approach, not a final purpose in and of itself.
When pledging to fight extravagance, the leaders also made it clear that such efforts are meant to lead to a more down-to-earth working style.
With fewer gaudy receptions, Chinese officials will have more time and opportunities to get closer to the people and listen to their voices.
This will encourage them to give more consideration to the public's demands and interests in their decision-making process.
Attendees of local legislative and consultative sessions are supposed to solve pragmatic problems and give advice regarding new policies related to local development and improving residents' livelihoods.
In this respect, simplicity seems to work.
While the public has applauded officials' use of public transportation during the sessions, they have also noticed that political advisors are talking about measures to improve public transportation networks and alleviate taxi shortages for urbanites.
Decreasing the use of taxpayer money for official meetings should not be done simply to decrease costs, but also to make the government's spending more worthwhile.
To that end, government, legislative and political advisory bodies should be more vigorous in doing their duty. Officials should enhance their sense of responsibility as well.
Officials who conduct meetings and inspections that have no practical value do not deserve to get a single cent from taxpayers. The government should refrain from turning frugality into just another example of formality.