PUBLISHED : Monday, 13 May, 2013, 12:32pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 29 August, 2013, 4:13am

People's Daily slams Chinese local governments over luxury buildings


Patrick Boehler has published on China and Southeast Asia in four languages for publications in the US, Europe and Asia. After stints with Austria's ministries of defence and foreign affairs in Vienna and Beijing, he began his reporting career in Kuala Lumpur with the Malaysian online news portal Malaysiakini and, later, The Irrawaddy Magazine, a Myanmar exile publication in Thailand. He holds a doctorate in political science and has taught journalism at the University of Hong Kong. Follow him on Twitter: @mrbaopanrui

The Communist Party's flagship newspaper on Monday published a scathing rebuke against local governments wasting public funds on luxurious office buildings, despite its own construction of a 150m-tall tower in Beijing.

"County government offices are built like the American White House, city squares are larger than Tiananmen Square, the interiors of government guesthouses are sumptuously decorated," an article said in People's Daily.

"Luxury buildings are built to satisfy the pompous selfish desires of certain people, but they have hurt the feelings of the common people," it said.

The articles comes amid an austerity campaign launched by party General Secretary Xi Jinping in a much-publicised speech to party leaders in December.

He outlined guidelines that aim to end special traffic arrangements for officials, lavish banquets, lengthy meetings, flower arrangements and unnecessary travel that have cut growth in China's luxury industry.

Last September, a mayor of Minggang town in Henan province was exposed as having a 200 square metre office with a private elevator in a new government office, which cost 30 million yuan (HK$373 million) to build. National regulations allow for a nine square metre office for officials of his rank.

The local taxation bureau in Xiaogan, Hunan province, is currently supersizing with a new office building for 80 million yuan that would give every single employee an average office space of 200 square metres, China Industrial Economy News reported on Monday.

The People's Daily article failed to mention that the newspaper is also building ostentatious new headquarters in Beijing, which - having already attracted widespread ridicule - will feature a helipad.


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