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Civil servants' sexy clothes banned at work
By Shao Xiaoyi (China Daily)
Updated: 2004-09-09 02:14

Female civil servants will not be allowed to wear sexy clothes such as tank tops, backless costumes and tight jeans during working hours in the archives sector in East China's Zhejiang Province.

This is part of new regulations focusing on female officials' etiquette which are a bid to standardize the appearance and manners of female civil servants, according to local archives administration officials.

The move, the first of its kind in the country, sets standards for the clothing, language and overall behaviour of female civil servants during working hours.

"We drafted the regulations because a large number of female civil servants work in our archives system," said Wu Ling, a senior official with the Provincial Archives Administration.

Statistics show that about 70 per cent of the staff in the archives system in Zhejiang Province are female.

The first article of the regulations says that female officials' clothes should be tasteful and simple in style and colour, while avant-garde and ostentatious dress is forbidden in offices.

Tight-fitting clothes are also inappropriate for formal occasions and underwear should not be exposed. And women civil servants should also cut down on the amount of jewellery they wear, according to the regulations.

Wu said the regulations stress the importance of clothes as they play a major role in determining people's first impressions.

"Clothes show on the outside what you have inside. They should be fashionable but not sexy," Wu said.

Apart from regulations on clothes, a number of others in such fields as language required in daily conversations are also set out.

A written proposal to all of the province's female civil servants has been made to create a new official etiquette, according to Wu.

The new regulation is now being drafted and circulated among officials for comments and is expected to come into effect soon, according to Shen Weiguang, Party secretary of the Archives Administration of Zhejiang Province.

Whether or not female civil servants should be allowed to wear sexy clothes has become a subject of heated debate.

Some people think the regulations are important as they think that civil servants should be dignified and tasteful, while others think women officials have the freedom to choose what they wear.

Chen, 27, who works in a government department in Hangzhou, said clothing was a sign of individuality and should not be restricted.

"People have their own understanding of beauty and etiquette and I do not like to always dress in a suit," Chen added.

But experts suggest clothes should fit in with certain occasions and as representatives of the government, civil servants should be suitably dressed.

Moreover, a regulation on civil servants' clothes came into effect in June in Guangzhou in South China's Guangdong Province. It stipulated that officials will be fined from 50 yuan (US$6) to 300 yuan (US$36) for unsuitable dress.

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