China issues guidelines on official receptions
China issued a series of guidelines on official receptions on Sunday, pledging to close loopholes that foster extravagance and corruption.
The guidelines, which were published by general offices of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and State Council and replace a 2006 version, apply to all political parties, government departments, legislative and political advisory bodies, judicial authorities as well as publicly funded organizations and State-owned enterprises.
Under the new rules, business trips that aim to “study and exchange experiences”, inspection tours that go to the same destination without proper reasons, and official events at tourist attractions are banned.
Hosting units are urged to reject activities or visitors that cannot produce official approval.
Participants in official conferences and those on business trips must live in hotels selected by the government or guesthouses of government departments. Only those who have an administrative rank of provincial or ministerial level (or higher) are allowed to live in a suite.
The guidelines extend a stringent cap on reception banquets, stipulating that hosting units can hold only one dinner for visitors if it is necessary for their work. At most, three workers at the hosting unit can participate in the dinner if the number of the visitors is less than 10.
Expensive dishes and those cooked with protected wild animals are prohibited at such dinners, as are cigarettes and fine liquors. Expenses for reception events must be included in annual budgets and listed separately for scrutiny.
No reception activities should be convened at commercial venues that provide entertainment and physical fitness services. Hosting units are forbidden from organizing performing-art shows and giving visitors complimentary money, souvenirs or local products.
“The guidelines are very attentive to details that were easily ignored in the past,” said Wu Hui, an associate professor of governance at the Party School of the CPC Central Committee. “For instance, they say hosts should not provide toilet requisites other than those prepared by the hotel. This clause seems trivial, but it really works when you want to eliminate all possibilities of extravagance.”
He said after the CPC and central government launched the fight against official extravagance and corruption, a slew of regulations and guidelines have taken effect, gradually reducing loopholes that corrupt officials could take advantage of.