A Little Less Decoration, A Little More Action, Please

China’s new Party leadership has vowed to reject “extravagance, formalism and bureaucracy” in government—or, as The Financial Times put it, to let a hundred flowers wilt. Xinhua recounted the long list of resolutions: In a meeting of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee on Tuesday, senior officials agreed that there should be “no welcome banner, no red carpet, no floral arrangement or grand receptions for officials’ visits.” “The spending on officials’ trips and inspections should be kept at the minimum necessary level,” according to a statement issued after the meeting. […] “There should be fewer traffic controls arranged for the leaders’ security of their trips to avoid unnecessary inconvenience to the public, and inspection tours as a mere formality should be strictly prohibited,” the statement said. Political Bureau members are not allowed to attend all sorts of ribbon-cutting or cornerstone laying ceremonies, as well as celebrations and seminars, unless they get approval from the CPC Central Committee, according to the statement. Officials’ visits abroad should only be arranged when needed in terms of foreign affairs with fewer accompanying members, and on most of the occasions, there is no need for a reception by overseas Chinese people, institutions and students at the airport. […] Official meetings should get shortened and be specific and to the point, with no empty and rigmarole talks. […] It also asked the senior officials to keep a frugal lifestyle and strictly comply to regulations on housing and vehicles. NPR’s Louisa Lim noted an additional instruction: “State media has been told to restrain themselves from writing pointless stories about official events unless there is real news value — an order which, if actually followed, would produce some of the shortest newspapers ever seen.” In an apparent attempt to restore a shaken ...
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