Photos: Central Committee Leaders Make a Fashion Statement

and other high-ranking leaders appear in a sea of white dress shirts, conspicuously sans the usual suits, at a meeting on June 25. Xinhua, the government’s official press agency, interprets for its readers the higher message, running a story that both reports and comments on the mass wardrobe shift. CDT translates the article:

On June 25, the General Secretary of the Communist Party of China, President, and Chairman of the Central Military Commission Hu Jintao gave an important speech at the Central Party School of China’s Communist Party provincial level cadres advanced studies class. Wu Bangguo, Wen Jiabao, Jia Qinglin, Zeng Qinghong, Wu Guanzheng, Li Changchun and Luo Gan were in attendance.

While viewing News Hookup on CCTV on the night of June 25, the eyes can’t help but take notice: as General Secretary Hu Jintao was giving his important speech, he had on a white collared shirt and not the usual dark-colored suit. Among the other Central Committee leaders sharing the stage, no one wore a suit or a tie either, all appearing in uniform simple attire. As seen on television, seemingly all the attendees were dressed down. The scene strikes viewers with a sense of closeness and warmth.

by Fan Rujun for Xinhua

Whether or not to wear a suit is completely determined by the occasion; there is no set rule. At some important conferences or events, formal dress is not only a necessity of etiquette but is also a matter of showing respect to others; however, at other occasions, dress can be de-emphasized. The Central Committee leaders’ gesture is an expression of practicality. However, in recent years, sometimes too much emphasis has been placed on etiquette in certain places. Some occasions that required without exception formal attire resulted in not only causing attendees inconvenience but also engendering great waste. For example, the term “suit temperature” coined a few years ago refers to how certain places ( e.g. the conference room, the office) set the air conditioner at a temperature suitable for wearing suits. I don’t know exactly what that temperature is, but wearing suits in the heat of summer must require the air conditioner to be set at a very low temperature. The direct consequence of this is an increase in consumption. China is a country that consumes a lot of power but at the same time is also deficient of power. conservation should start with making little changes, done by every person.

Since CCP’s Sixteenth Party Congress, the Central Committee has proposed taking a scientific approach to development, giving high priority to conserving energy resources. Last year on December 25 while hosting the Central Committee Politburo meeting for collective learning, General Secretary Hu Jintao resolved to “be absolutely determined, make the most effort to carry out the job of energy resources conservation. This year, the State Council established a energy conservation committee headed by Premier Wen Jiabao that endorsed a series of measures to reduce energy consumption and carbon dioxide emissions. The Central Committee leaders attending the conference in relaxed attire without a doubt serves as an example of energy conservation. We should follow their example and work towards energy conservation together. (Xu Ke)

See the original article in Chinese here.

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