Extravagance to be Avoided at Upcoming NPC Session

In December, the CCP Politburo vowed to cut down on the “extravagance, formalism and bureaucracy” that has long been a part of official party and state conduct. On the list of extravagant activities to be nixed were the heavy traffic controls, expensive receptions and lengthy but hollow state media reports that routinely accompany official visits. The December announcement was in line with the anti-corruption message that CCP general secretary Xi Jinping has been toting since his appointment to the highest of party positions in November. An article from People’s Daily notes that Xi has recently reiterated his commitment to cutting down extravagance:

Chinese leader Xi Jinping has urged all official organs to keep a frugal lifestyle and resolutely oppose extravagance.

Xi, general secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC), made the written comment on recent news reporting, noting that the fine Chinese tradition of “being diligent and thrifty” and the idea of “honor to frugality and shame to extravagance” should be promoted among all walks of life.

The masses have posed strong opposition to extravagance, Xi said, expressing deep sorrow when he thought of many people in poverty.

All government organs, institutions, state-owned enterprises and non-profit organizations as well as officials at various levels should set exemplary examples of putting an end to extravagance, Xi said.

In the lead up to the first session of the 12th National People’s Congress set to commence on March 5, Xinhua announces that extravagance will indeed be curtailed at this first meeting of China’s new parliament:

The NPC Standing Committee statement said expenditures will be tightened for the first session of 12th NPC. The intensity and duration of traffic controls during the session should be properly limited and road closures should be kept to a minimum.

There will be no flowers in NPC deputies’ hotel rooms and no welcoming ceremonies at the airport or railway stations, according to the statement.

All deputies will eat at buffets without expensive food or alcohol, while extravagant galas, gifts and performances will not be arranged.

NPC deputies will be encouraged to focus on key issues and avoid empty talk, while the media will be encouraged to report more on deputies from grassroots areas.

In an article summarizing state media coverage of the pledge, Reuters briefly describes NPC meetings of the past, and Xi’s campaign to improve official conduct:

Normally a bastion of sycophancy, as the hand-picked delegates seek to out-compete each other in lauding the Communist Party, the official Xinhua news agency said that would change when the largely rubber stamp parliament meets in March.

Incoming president Xi Jinping has made cutting back on extravagance and waste a key theme of his first few weeks in office since becoming party chief in November, seeking to assuage anger at corruption and restore faith in the party.

[...]Parliament is unlikely to be dull this year in any case, as it will mark Xi’s formal assumption of the title of president and the beginning of a new generation of leaders taking on the reins of state power.

Xi has already told officials to end their normal practice of giving stultifying speeches and pre-arranging fawning welcomes from local people and banished alcohol from military functions, as he tries to project a man-of-the-people image.

The party, which has shown no sign of giving up its tight grip on power, has struggled to contain public wrath at a seemingly endless stream of corruption scandals, particularly when officials are seen as abusing their posts to amass wealth.

See prior CDT coverage of the “seemingly endless stream of corruption scandals” that may have encouraged campaigns against extravagance.

January 31, 2013 4:05 PM
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Categories: Politics