Wen Jiabao

Extravagant offices may be sold off

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 07 March, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 07 March, 2007, 12:00am

Extravagant office buildings and meeting centres may be auctioned soon, as the disciplinary watchdog pledges to crack down on vanity projects this year.

Vice-Supervision Minister Chen Changzhi said the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, the Communist Party's anti-corruption watchdog, would inspect newly built government offices and buildings nationwide this year.

Buildings considered too extravagant or impractical would be confiscated by the central government and some would be auctioned, the Beijing News reported yesterday.

Many cities and townships have spent huge amounts on grandiose public projects, such as office buildings, meeting centres, hotels or theatres, to impress outsiders and improve their achievement records.

But many of these projects have proved wasteful and impractical, and have become one of the issues most criticised by the public.

Some small towns have extravagant office buildings completely out of place with their level of economic development. Some local governments have even spent most of their budgets on such wasteful projects.

The central government has tried to crack down on so-called vanity projects many times. In this year's government work report, Premier Wen Jiabao again vowed to stop such squandering of public funds.

'One important task we are now facing is to deal with the serious problem of extravagance and waste in some government bodies,' he said. 'Quite a few local governments, government offices and organisations compete with one another for lavishness, and spend money hand over fist, which arouses strong public resentment.'

Mr Chen said the commission had put the issue at the top of its agenda this year.