Business / Opinion

Ban on extravagance

(China Daily) Updated: 2014-01-17 07:39

More than 30,000 government officials have been punished for corruption and other malpractices since December 2012, when the country's new leadership issued a document to eliminate corruption and extravagance. Thanks to strengthened supervision, many officials have stopped dining in fancy restaurants while some others are busy hiding their luxury cars or moving out of their over-decorated offices. In fact, more than 90 percent government officials who responded to a recent survey said: "Life is becoming tough".

But an opinion article in China Youth Daily disagrees with the survey's results, hoping that the austerity measures remain in place in the long run.

The ban on extravagant parties may have hurt the interests of certain officials. But are these interests legal or illegal? Obviously, people don't pay taxes for officials to hold or attend lavish parties, ride luxury cars or indulge in other luxuries. Many of the privileges that officials had become used to were actually illegal. And the measures implemented in December 2012 have only done away with those illegal privileges, without reducing the income or harming the welfare of officials.

Government jobs, which come with a stable income and relatively high social status, are still attractive to people. The fact that more than 1.36 million people applied for about 19,000 civil servants' posts in 2014 best illustrates the attraction of government jobs.

Officials who had become accustomed to the luxurious lifestyle at the cost of public funds might find it painful to give them up. Those who misused public funds to travel or commute by luxury cars may feel upset to take train journeys. And those who enjoyed lavish dinners using public money may have forgotten what it means to pay for their food. It is thus important to keep the austerity measures in force in order to prevent such malpractices from being repeated.

In a way, government officials have benefited from the austerity measures, because by not attending boring parties and getting drunk frequently they are saving themselves from a health hazard.

Hopefully, the austerity measures become permanent so that taxpayers' money is saved and used for good purposes.

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