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China hopes to cut bureaucracy via punishment

Xinhua | Updated: 2013-08-14 06:09

NANNING - Although the government has made commitments to eliminate bureaucracy by punishing corrupt officials, further efforts are still needed, experts said.

On Tuesday, a government official in south China was sacked from his post for using public funds to pay for luxurious banquets, according to local discipline inspection authorities.

Tang Tiansheng, secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Committee of Longsheng County in South China's Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region, was found entertaining guests at a local hotel using public money in late July.

The event was first exposed on Sina Weibo, the Chinese equivalent of Twitter, by a reporter who said that Tang and 35 others were feasting at an expensive hotel.

Tang was quoted as saying that he was not scared of being exposed.

The local discipline inspection commission (DIC) stripped Tang of his post after an investigation revealed that the banquet cost 3,626 yuan ($600).

Others involved in the scandal, including the county mayor, have been warned and ordered to pay for the expenses they incurred, according to the DIC.

Official statistics show that 2,290 officials have been punished since the central government issued an eight-point code of conduct last year to reduce bureaucracy and boost ties with the public.

The code maintains that officials should remain thrifty, adding that luxurious receptions are forbidden.

Huang Qi, a business manager at a high-end restaurant in Guangxi, said  his restaurant has lost many clients since the government enhanced its efforts to fight corruption.

"I am now finding a way out by catering to midrange and low-end consumers, which means our dishes must be priced quite low," Huang said.

Zhang Hui, a professor with Guangxi's regional Party School of the CPC Central Committee, said a comprehensive mechanism should be put in place to tackle corruption.

"The severe punishment of corrupt officials shows the government's determination to cut bureaucracy, but further efforts are needed," he said.

While emphasizing the necessity of strict self-discipline on the part of government officials, Zhang said a responsibility system should be set up to deter officials from engaging in improper behavior, adding that those who violate related regulations should take responsibility for their actions.

"Only in this way can the Chinese people truly realize their dreams and lead a contented life," he said.

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