Beijing officials bid adieu to five-star treatment

Leading hotels dropped from list of meeting venues in drive against extravagance

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 01 April, 2014, 1:09pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 01 April, 2014, 2:36pm

Beijing municipal officials who have acquired a taste for the good life will now have to downgrade their expectations after the city’s five-star hotels were ruled off-limits for meetings, local media reported.

As part of the nationwide campaign against extravagance and corruption, the city’s 27 top hotels are absent from a list 318 designated venues drawn up by the municipal procurement department for the 2014-2015 fiscal year, the Beijing Daily and Beijing Times reported.

The cheapest room on the list costs 80 yuan per head per day.

In accordance with Xi Jinping’s “eight rules” to rein in excessive bureaucracy and extravagance, the capital vowed to control its conference budget, one of the items most often cited as a source of corruption and wasteful spending of public funds.

The municipal government has been ordered to strictly monitor compliance with conference budget, the Beijing Times quoted an official from the procurement department as saying.

The government would also consider using cinemas for government meetings, the official added.

The budget of a municipal level conference is 550 yuan per head per day, including 300 yuan for accommodation, 150 yuan for meals and 100 yuan for other expenses, according to municipal finance bureau directives issued in January.

While leisure facilities including saunas, gyms or bowling were considered pluses for bidding venues, today walking distance to bus and subway stations is main advantage.

The directives also require all conferences, except those held by the municipal government and party committee, to last no more than two days.

The city has also put a cap on the number of attendants. “A conference that used to have more than 200 attendants will now have a quota of around 50. Bureau-level conferences with fewer than 50 attendants should use the conference facilities in their own office buildings,” Beijing Daily quoted an official from the procurement department as saying.

According to the municipal finance bureau, the city’s budget this year for receptions, business trips and limousines shrank to 6.45 million yuan from 7.5 million yuan last year.