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Eliminating loopholes

Updated: 2013-12-10 06:40
( China Daily)

A new series of guidelines on official receptions have been introduced recently, as part of the leadership's anti-extravagance drive. The guidelines, jointly issued by the general offices of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and the State Council, will replace those introduced in 2006 and apply to all Party branches, government agencies, legislative and political advisory bodies, and judicial authorities, as well as any organizations funded with public money.

As a Beijing Times article points out, the new guidelines are attentive to details that might easily have been overlooked, and they will eliminate the loopholes that used to foster extravagance and corruption.

Many people said it would take at least three years for China to come up with nationwide regulations banning the use of expensive dishes, such as shark fin soup, at official receptions. But the local efforts that have been made so far contradict this. In Wenzhou, Zhejiang province, for instance, regulations were issued in late June last year, prohibiting shark fin, abalone and high-end liquor for official receptions.

Now the central authorities have worked out national guidelines that manage to address the wasteful extravagance on official receptions, which has provoked widespread concern. For example, the latest guidelines stipulate that expensive dishes and those cooked with protected wild animals are prohibited at reception dinners, as are cigarettes and fine liquors. It also stipulates that no reception events should be convened at commercial venues that provide entertainment services. The organizers of official receptions are also prohibited from staging special performances and giving visitors souvenirs or local specialties.

Trivial as they might sound, these guidelines will help to eliminate the gaps in which extravagance is able to flourish.

Supervision is another highlight of the new guidelines, and the details of official receptions, including the attendees' names and job titles, and the costs incurred, will be subject to scrutiny.

Meanwhile, Party organs and government departments above county-level will have to disclose their official reception standards, the expenditure, reception venues and other relevant details for supervision. This does not necessarily guarantee that every reception activity from now on will become 100 percent transparent, but the new guidelines, with their institutional rigor, will certainly help serve as a deterrent to any wrongdoing.

(China Daily 12/10/2013 page8)