An eastern Chinese city has banned serving luxury foods and liquors during official receptions in an effort to trim excessive public spending, local authorities said.
According to a regulation issued by the Wenzhou city government in late June, delicacies including shark fins, abalones and wild ginsengs were prohibited from appearing on such occasions, said Lin Zhanxiao, a director at the city’s discipline inspection commission.
The blacklist went on to name other luxury dishes, premium liquors like Kweichow Moutai, and high-end cigaretts, Lin said.
Wenzhou, a bustling port city in Zhejiang province, is known for its free-market entrepreneurship and for spearheading China’s judicial reforms.
The regulation also placed a cap on the number of officials attending banquets and expenses on such occasions, which were stipulated not to exceed 60 yuan ($9.4) for each person, Lin said.
“This regulation is going to be serious – we’ll require officials to submit checks of the banquets, which will clearly show everything they have ordered,” Lin said. (Xinhua)
As I’m sure you did, the first thing I thought of when reading that was to look for loopholes. The biggest one, of course, is enforcement. It doesn’t matter if those expenses are reported to one’s superiors if the higher-ups look the other way when budgets are exceeded. Indeed, if I was organising one of these things, I’d simply make sure to invite all the folks in the chain of command who have oversight authority.
Cynicism aside, the restrictions are better than I would have thought. For example, a purely symbolic set of rules would ban a few high-end items, like shark’s fin soup, yet allow alternative delicacies. You can never ban everything, which is why a per diem, or cost per person, is important. I’m assuming, though, that there is no fiddling with the number of attendees; over-reporting would make that per person budget meaningless. Perhaps the attendee cap has something to do with that problem.
As usual, I appreciate that the government is even bothering with this kind of thing; it means they are listening to public concerns. If the rules actually work, and I admit that I will be surprised if they do, even better.
Read more posts on China Hearsay »
NOW WATCH: Briefing videos
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.