China / Government

Pomp and ceremony must end

By Zhao Yinan, Xu Wei and Zheng Yangpeng (China Daily) Updated: 2012-12-05 02:23

The new leadership asked officials to slash red tape, including unnecessary visits, meetings and pointless discussions, on Tuesday in a bid to better connect with the general public and stamp out pomp.

China's new leader Xi Jinping has consistently stressed the importance of more work and less talk, commentators and experts said.

All members of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, the country's top-ruling body, were urged to understand the real situation facing society, according to a statement passed at their meeting on Tuesday.

Pomp and ceremony must end

The political bureau, which has 25 members, includes the top decision-makers, such as State leaders, Party chiefs of several key provincial-level regions, ministers and top army officials.

The political bureau said greater attention should be focused on places where social problems are more acute, and inspection tours must be carried out more thoroughly, the statement said.

It also said senior leaders should work and listen to the public and officials at the grassroots, and people's practical problems must be tackled.

The statement requires senior Party officials to end any possible displays of ostentation, including slashing spending on visits and cutting unnecessary etiquette. The number of meetings should also be reduced as should traffic disruption to the general public when officials traveled by road.

It also prohibits pointless media reporting and upholds the principle of diligence and frugality.

Analysts said although the measures target senior Party members, it also sends a strong message to society.

Zhu Lijia, professor at the Chinese Academy of Governance, said the measures reflect Xi's consistent principles on the Party's working style.

In 2010, Xi told the CPC Central Committee Party School in a speech that there was a great deal of room for improvement in many speeches by officials, as they contained too much jargon and empty words.

He reiterated his stance in his first speech as the general-secretary of the CPC Central Committee on Nov 15, when he also addressed ending bureaucracy and pomp.

On a visit to the National Museum of China on Thursday, Xi again told officials that empty talk harms the nation, while hard work strengthens the country.

Zhu said the measures address issues that the public resent the most, such as tedious meetings and frequent traffic disruption by cars transporting officials.

“The measures have set a good example. Its wording and phrasing are clear, to the point and easy to understand,” he said.

Zhu said although Party officials who violate the measures will be investigated, the requirements may get better results if the State Council can adopt similar measures and make them legally valid.

Liu Shanying, a researcher on political science at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said the new measures are welcome but it will still take the supervision of media and society to help implementation.

Liu said it will not be difficult for the top leadership to carry out the new requirements. But he expressed concern about officials at the grassroots as they may have become accustomed to a certain lifestyle.

Boosting demand

Other meeting topics, presided over by Xi, also included economic policy, with a takeway being that boosting domestic demand while controlling inflation will be a priority of the government's economic policy next year, it said.

One task of the meeting, was to set the theme for the annual Central Economic Work Conference, which is expected to open soon in Beijing.

The economy is stabilizing, but its development will “face various challenges that should not be underestimated” next year, it said.

The Politburo called for the strengthening of the economy, cultivation of domestic demand and greater consumption.

The meeting also pledged to keep inflation stable, maintain supply and demand of key commodities, and further reduce the cost of logistics.

The meeting pledged to strictly control industries that heavily consume resources and cause pollution.

It also pledged to prevent the blind expansion in industries facing overcapacity, promote mergers and acquisitions in those industries, and advance upgrading of traditional industries. The meeting also focused on further reform in key economic areas and more tax incentives for service industries.

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