採訪/李韻 編輯/黃億美 後製/郭敬
Chinese Officials Banquets Become More Lavish and Covert
China’s State Council has published working rules.
These regulate business meals and
receptions of the state departments.
Yet, by changing tactics, local Chinese Communist
Party (CCP) officials are able to bypass these rules.
They are now still spending public
money on feasting and entertainment.
On March 28, the General Office of China’s State
Council released the latest version of it’s working rules.
Recently, in his first plenary meeting of the State
Department, new Premier Li Keqiang gave instructions.
Li banned using public money in gifting and banquets.
He also proposed ending lavish spending, and
strictly controlling travel and meeting expenses.
He said that all activity expenditures
shall come under budgetary control.
No scenic spot visits shall be arranged during grassroots
inspection tours, and seeking privileges is not allowed.
Media reported that these working rules fully displayed
Li Keqiang’s style, which is “stronger and more ambitious”.
Other media reviewed that local authorities will
find ways to escape executing central policies.
Feasting with public expenses
are now under varied guises.
Li Yuanhua, Chinese history scholar:
“I think he is ambitious in governance.
However, he cannot figure anything out, and tries to
pretend he puts people first, stopping lavish banquets.
His talks can only be heard, but won’t be truly followed.
The CCP is rotten to core, and a few words cannot
truly solve its problem, which lacks a driving force.”
A netizen posted, “All these regulations have existed,
but have never been really observed in the past 30 years.
Rather, abusing public funds has become more widespread.
The crucial answers are implementation and watchdogs.”
Another netizen said that, “laws are trying to ban
corruption, but corrupt officials keep emerging.
Nepotism makes better sense in China’s officialdom.
How can a leader, who just took up his new office, be
able to purge those corrupt, boozing and whoring officials?
They may stay longer than his tenure.”
An article published in Business Insider said that
Chinese officials spend “around 600 Billion Yuan
($94.5 billion) annually” on wining and dining.
This is “the same amount that China
spent on military defense in 2011.”
Li Yuanhua: “China’s biggest problem is that officials
use their positions to collect bribes. It’s not the banquets.
Any one who has real sense of justice
cannot be successful within the CCP system.
Since he can be appointed as the Premier,
he actually meets the system’s criterion.”
Sun Wenguang, former professor, Shandong University:
“Since Li Keqiang took office, he hasn’t yet improved
much on the elimination of the rich-poor gap.
I think the way out of corruption way is its system,
but on which he hasn’t done anything particularly.
If he only focuses on a few issues,
I believe corruption will continue.”
Officials from four different regions revealed the reality,
according to the South China Morning Post (SCMP).
The article said, “The banquets have merely
gone underground, where they are now
being held in a much more lavish style.”
Houses which looked like “understated country
homes” have been turned into venues where
officials could “dine and enjoy saunas”.
“But the interior was decorated to a first
rate standard”, with fine-dining chefs.”
Media reported that a State owned enterprise
president held a banquet in the company’s canteen.
“Abundant lobsters, sea cucumbers, and
many expensive imported wines” were served.
Furthermore, in banquets, the bottle
labels of Maotai wine are usually torn off.
Reportedly, this is to prevent people from
taking pictures to expose on the internet.
And a safer way is to pour Maotai
wine into mineral water bottles.
The SCMP cited a Fujian official.
The official said that “a lavish banquet was a
must when people wanted to get things done.”
“It is not only happening in Fujian, but
in many provinces around the country.”
The official said, “there are plenty of ways at the local
level, for cities to get around these rules from the top.”
A National People’s Congress deputy to told
SCMP that lavish banquets were “a longtime
tradition that would take time to eradicate”.
Now the question is, given time, can
CCP corruption really be eradicated?
Will the Chinese people be willing
to continue to wait for that day?