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Stop gifting from grafting

China Daily | Updated: 2013-08-23 08:30

The ban imposed by the top anti-graft watchdog of the Communist Party of China on the use of public money to buy moon cakes as a gift nearly a month before the annual Mid-Autumn Festival once again demonstrates the new leadership's resolve to fight extravagance and promote frugality.

According to the CPC Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, the ban aims to put a resolute brake on "presenting gifts and extravagance funded by public money".

The new CPC leadership has taken a firm stance against the squandering of public money and taken steps to stop extravagance in a bid to forge a clean and thrifty image. The anti-extravagance campaign, which has resulted in a sharp decline in sales of expensive commodities, such as Moutai liquor, has seen positive effects throughout society.

A high-profile battle against the seemingly less expensive moon cakes shows the watchdog is persisting in its fight against extravagance and determination to leave no space for corruption.

The annual Mid-Autumn Festival offers an opportunity for Chinese people to reunite with family members and friends, and moon cakes are usually given as a gift. They are also given as a sign of respect in business and to build personal relations. Such a practice constitutes an important part of the Chinese "moon cake culture" and remains popular.

However, as people have become wealthier, low-priced but palatable moon cakes have increasingly given way to expensive and extravagantly packaged moon cakes, especially by officials as a gift for their superiors, mostly at the expense of public money.

In such an atmosphere, moon cakes at astronomical prices and even gold and silver "moon cakes" have emerged. This has obviously provided space for corruption. On the eve of the annual Mid-Autumn Festival, it was common for the gates of some government departments in Beijing to be busy with vehicles bearing moon cakes, adding even more traffic to the already-congested capital.

The unhealthy gift-presenting that has been rife in officialdom has eaten up huge amounts of taxpayers' money and incurred the wrath of the public.

The latest ban from the top Party watchdog will help curb the gift-giving culture and rein in the skewed morals exhibited by officials.

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