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Xinhua Insight: Secretive government receptions defy China's central authority

English.news.cn   2013-01-23 20:55:51            

SHAFTS OF LIGHT?

This is not the first time the top leadership has issued an order calling for official frugality.

Such warnings are routinely issued ahead of the Spring Festival, when the country typically indulges in extravagant dining amid a festive atmosphere.

But this year, Xi has signaled the Party's resolution to uproot corruption and official extravagance.

The carrying out of "eight-point" bureaucracy and formalism-fighting guidelines, introduced by the Dec. 4 meeting of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee, is only "the first step" in the Party's efforts to improve work style, according to the general secretary.

"All Party organs and members should be frugal and make determined efforts to oppose ostentation and reject hedonism," he said.

As the Party's warnings resonate, a number of restaurants have felt their government client base shrink.

Peng Xuezhen, head of a branch of Macau Street Restaurant in Tianhe District of Guangzhou City, capital of Guangdong Province in southern China, said a dozen local government departments had canceled their orders recently.

An employee with the Sea View Garden Hotel of Qingdao in Shandong Province told Xinhua that they received fewer bookings for banquet halls this year, but smaller chartered rooms accommodating two or three tables were in demand instead.

As restaurants complain over the loss of government clients, officials' relief at the implementation of the frugality order is tangible elsewhere. This is most understandable in China's poorest "poverty alleviation counties," which benefit from special measures to aid development, but conversely have to host a lot of senior visitors.

"We used to be worried that it would appear shabby if leaders could not eat and drink well after their long, bumpy journey here," said an official in charge of receptions for an Anhui poverty alleviation county.

"But now, every leader is treated the same with four dishes and one soup, without any alcohol, a standard made by provincial regulations," said the official.

In this way, the price for each meal can be reduced to 300-400 yuan, a third of the previous cost, they added.

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Editor: Yang Lina
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