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An unnecessary lavish reception

China Daily | Updated: 2013-04-11 09:16

When Liu Yang, China's first woman astronaut, visited her home in Linzhou, Henan province, on Tomb Sweeping Day, local officials warmly welcomed her at the railway station and city's electricity department repaired the power unit in her house and instructed technicians to ensure that it got continuous power supply. Understandably, people in Liu's hometown are proud of her, but there was no reason for local officials to make a show out of her visit, says an article in Beijing News. Excerpts:

As a public service sector enterprise, the electricity bureau should serve the people without discrimination and never use public resources to provide special service for social celebrities.

The VIP treatment given by local officials to Liu was uncalled for and suggests that they were out to flatter her.

Obviously, the local government's hype over Liu's visit to Linzhou runs counter to the eight-point public service code. Ironically, even before the fanfare generated over Liu's visit subsided, it was reported that Zhang Xiaodong, the Party secretary of Anyang, was under investigation by discipline inspection department for suspected violation of discipline.

The mistakes Zhang has committed could be more severe than violating the eight-point code.

But everyone would agree that the extravagant reception given to Liu has made Zhang a laughing stock, especially now that he has been removed from his post.

This should be a lesson for governments at all levels. To honor achievers, officials should treat them with deference, instead of showering them with special privileges at the cost of public resources. Only by improving public service and solving the problems of ordinary people can officials, as well as celebrities, earn their respect.

(China Daily 04/11/2013 page9)

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