Ban on ex­trav­a­gance

China Daily (Canada) - - COMMENT -

More than 30,000 gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials have been pun­ished for cor­rup­tion and other mal­prac­tices since De­cem­ber 2012, when the coun­try’s new lead­er­ship is­sued a doc­u­ment to elim­i­nate cor­rup­tion and ex­trav­a­gance. Thanks to strength­ened su­per­vi­sion, many of­fi­cials have stopped din­ing in fancy restau­rants while some oth­ers are busy hiding their lux­ury cars or mov­ing out of their over-dec­o­rated of­fices. In fact, more than 90 per­cent gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials who re­sponded to a re­cent sur­vey said: “Life is be­com­ing tough”.

But an opin­ion ar­ti­cle in China Youth Daily dis­agrees with the sur­vey’s re­sults, hop­ing that the aus­ter­ity mea­sures re­main in place in the long run.

The ban on ex­trav­a­gant par­ties may have hurt the in­ter­ests of cer­tain of­fi­cials. But are th­ese in­ter­ests le­gal or il­le­gal?

Ob­vi­ously, peo­ple don’t pay taxes for of­fi­cials to hold or at­tend lav­ish par­ties, ride lux­ury cars or in­dulge in other lux­u­ries. Many of the priv­i­leges that of­fi­cials had be­come used to were ac­tu­ally il­le­gal.

And the mea­sures im­ple­mented in De­cem­ber 2012 have only done away with those il­le­gal priv­i­leges, with­out re­duc­ing the in­come or harm­ing the wel­fare of of­fi­cials.

Gov­ern­ment jobs, which come with a sta­ble in­come and rel­a­tively high so­cial sta­tus, are still at­trac­tive to peo­ple.

The fact that more than 1.36 mil­lion peo­ple ap­plied for about 19,000 civil ser­vants’ posts in 2014 best il­lus­trates the at­trac­tion of gov­ern­ment jobs.

Of­fi­cials who had be­come ac­cus­tomed to the lux­u­ri­ous life­style at the cost of pub­lic funds might find it painful to give them up.

Those who mis­used pub­lic funds to travel or com­mute by lux­ury cars may feel up­set to take train jour­neys.

And those who en­joyed lav­ish din­ners us­ing pub­lic money may have for­got­ten what it means to pay for their food. It is thus im­por­tant to keep the aus­ter­ity mea­sures in force in or­der to pre­vent such mal­prac­tices from be­ing re­peated.

In a way, gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials have ben­e­fited from the aus­ter­ity mea­sures, be­cause by not at­tend­ing bor­ing par­ties and get­ting drunk fre­quently they are sav­ing them­selves from a health hazard.

Hope­fully, the aus­ter­ity mea­sures be­come per­ma­nent so that tax­pay­ers’ money is saved and used for good pur­poses.

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