Cadres 'squandering public funds' despite pledge on curbs

PUBLISHED : Friday, 21 December, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 21 December, 2012, 4:34am

Local Communist Party cadres are still misusing public funds to build up their guanxi - networks of influence - even though the party leadership has pledged to reduce pomp, ceremony and red carpet welcomes for senior officials, Beijing Times reported yesterday.

The deputy head of a county in Inner Mongolia almost fainted after jumping into a pool at a hot springs spa eight times in one day while accompanying 10 delegations of party officials on inspections, it said.

"All the visitors were superior officials," he said. "I could not say no. Treating them well is a way to build up close friendships."

Another party cadre from Inner Mongolia said he had eaten four breakfasts at expensive hotels in a single morning with high-ranking officials auditing local government projects.

Gifts remain an important part of saying goodbye to visiting officials and solidifying networks to improve career prospects, the report said. Local specialities, such as porcelain and native products, were favoured for mid-level party cadres, with expensive digital devices and artwork the gifts of choice for senior officials.

A finance official in Hubei said expenses related to entertaining visiting officials would be reimbursed when counterfeit expense claims for office and stationery supplies were presented.

"That's why you will find that a single office usually buys more than a dozen printers every year", the official told the newspaper.

Early this month, the party's new 25-member Politburo said officials should reduce ostentation and bureaucratic visits, meetings and talks "in order to remain close to the public".

The Politburo said red carpets, flowers and banners for welcoming officials should be a thing of the past.

It also said that the size of leaders' entourages on domestic and overseas visits should be scaled down and traffic controls for such trips reduced to avoid inconveniencing the public.