Beijing - No more indoor gardens, multi-storey atriums or high-tech karaoke
stages for government buildings, the Chinese government ruled in a
crackdown on luxury.
The move back to the drawing board is partly a response to complaints about
ostentatious public buildings, the Xinhua agency said, but also fits with a push
for smaller, less wasteful construction as the country looks for greener growth.
Many buildings in China are clad -- inside or out -- with acres of marble and
gilt as a sign of prestige. Expensive and energy-guzzling features like huge
glass windows and indoor fountains are also popular.
The new rules, handed down by the State Council together with the General
Office of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China in a
circular, forbid meeting rooms with simultaneous translation, use of
agricultural land and construction of large squares.
"They are not only serious acts of squandering but abuse of power," the
circular said of the "worsening trend" of local governments building extravagant
offices, in some cases by borrowing from banks or even embezzling
poverty-alleviation and disaster-relief funds.
It sets a cost limit of 4,000 yuan (US$512) per meter in the construction of
ministerial level buildings.
The circular required all government officials to be frugal in spending
public money since China was still a developing country.
Stringent approval procedures would be introduced to tackle the problem which
hurt the party's image, Xinhua said.
The circular ordered finance and expenditure officials to thoroughly inspect
construction plans of government buildings.
"The government will veto plans for any multi-functional meeting or training
centers of government departments or institutions," the circular said, referring
to the addition of restaurants and hotel-style accommodation in government
"Nor will funds from the government budget be allocated to renovate existing
All government office buildings should be "stately", simple and practical
without "luxurious" interior or exterior decoration, the circular reads.
The elevators, heating and air-conditioning facilities in these buildings
must be environment-friendly and energy-efficient.
All funding for the construction of government buildings must be allocated
from the central budget. Bank loans or donations under any guise are prohibited.
The circular stipulated that excessive space could be confiscated and sold if
the constructions violated government rules.