Xi Jinping

Xi Jinping calls for curbs on lavish official banquets

Party chief calls end to wastefulness at officials' dinner tables as report reflects public distaste

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 30 January, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 30 January, 2013, 5:18am

Communist Party chief Xi Jinping has again called for efforts to curb wasting of public money on extravagant meals.

All government agencies, military units, institutions, state-owned enterprises, non-profit organisations and officials at all levels should set exemplary standards of frugality when holding receptions and put an end to extravagance with public money, China Central Television quoted Xi as saying.

Xinhua said Xi was commenting on an internal report it had circulated to senior officials showing that internet users wanted to see an end to wastefulness at officials' dinner tables.

Xi, the party's new general secretary, said the report showed that wastefulness was a problem people opposed strongly, especially when it involved spending public money. He was sad to see it, given that so many people were living in poverty.

He called for the stepping up of a propaganda campaign honouring thrift and disgracing extravagance in all walks of life, and urging people to follow the fine Chinese tradition of "being diligent and thrifty".

Xi first called on officials to curb extravagance and live a thrifty lifestyle at a Politburo meeting in December in which he asked them to cut back on bureaucratic visits and meetings.

During his tour of Shenzhen, Zhuhai, Foshan and Guangzhou in December, Xi set an example by not ordering the closure of roads to make way for his official motorcade and eating buffet dinners with fewer dishes.

Xi told a meeting of the party's Central Commission for Discipline Inspection last week that officials should conduct all their undertakings industriously and thriftily, and stand fast against lavishness, hedonism and extravagance.

The effects of the campaign have been visible at meetings of local people's congresses and people's political consultative conferences, with no flower arrangements in meeting rooms, no liquor on the dinner tables and no baskets of fruit.

The head of the finance bureau in Qiongzhong county, Hainan , was sacked last week after an inspection team visited a restaurant and found an invoice for 15,000 yuan (HK$18,400) issued to the government that was actually for three private banquets held by the chief.