News / Asia

Chinese Officials Accused of Holding Secret Parties

A trainee walks pass a communist party logo as he attends a training course at the communist party school called China Executive Leadership Academy, Sept. 2012.
A trainee walks pass a communist party logo as he attends a training course at the communist party school called China Executive Leadership Academy, Sept. 2012.
China is acknowledging that some government officials have tried to avoid a crackdown on extravagance by holding secret sauna parties and hiding alcohol in plastic water bottles.

The state-run People's Daily published a front-page commentary Wednesday warning officials against engaging in "underground" lavish lifestyles funded by public money.

The article was published under the byline of He Yong - the same name as a high-ranking Chinese anti-corruption official.  It coincided with China's May Day holiday, which many Chinese typically celebrate with elaborate feasts.

Deceptive behavior

The newspaper said public discontent has grown in response to reports of Chinese officials holding sauna parties in farmhouses, pouring luxury liquor into water bottles and staging banquets in canteens to hide their conduct from supervision.

Communications professor Zhou He of the City University of Hong Kong said he learned of similar deceptions while meeting Chinese officials for Lunar New Year dinners in February.

"The holiday is usually an opportunity for Chinese officials and business people to meet," said Zhou, speaking by phone from Hong Kong. "There is always an exchange of favors and gestures to say thank you for help that has been delivered."

The communications analyst also cited an example of a local official who tried to hide a lavish dinner from the public by staging it at a cafeteria in Shandong province earlier this year.

He said protesters found out about the dinner and surrounded the cafeteria, forcing the official to apologize and causing him to be demoted in a case that drew wide interest from Chinese Internet users.

The new Chinese Communist leadership that took office last year has vowed to reduce official extravagance and promote frugality to try to keep a lid on domestic anger about corruption.

Zhou said many Chinese are used to local authorities finding "tricks" to get around central government orders. "What people hate more is the large amount of embezzlement among government officials," he said.

Fighting corruption

The People's Daily commentary called for the implementation of a "long-lasting" supervision system that will make corruption "not only detectable, but also impossible."

Zhou said corruption cannot be eradicated while China's ruling Communist Party bans all political opposition and lacks an effective way to monitor itself. The party also has no laws requiring officials to publicly disclose their assets.

"China's new leadership wants to have a cleaner party, but if its anti-corruption movement goes too far, it would hurt the legitimacy of the political structure," Zhou said.

Michael Lipin

Michael covers international news for VOA on the web, radio and TV, specializing in the Middle East and East Asia Pacific. Follow him on Twitter @Michael_Lipin

You May Like

At International AIDS Conference One Goal, Many Paths

The 12,000 delegates attending 20th International AIDS Conference in Melbourne have vastly different visions about how to eradicate disease More

Disasters May Doom Malaysia’s Flag Carrier

Even before loss of two jets loaded with passengers on international flights, company had been operating in red for three years, accumulating deficit of $1.3 billion More

Afghan Presidential Vote Audit Continues Despite Glitches

Process has been marred by walkouts by representatives of two competing candidates, Abdullah Abdullah and Ashraf Ghani More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Agei
X
Elizabeth Lee
July 20, 2014 2:36 AM
Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Chicago’s Argonne Lab Developing Battery of the Future

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science awarded a $120 million grant to a new technology center focused on battery development - headquartered at Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago, Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there scientists are making the next technological breakthroughs in energy storage.
Video

Video In NW Pakistan, Army Offensive Causes Massive Number of Displaced

Pakistan’s army offensive in North Waziristan has resulted in the large-scale displacement of the local population. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from northwest Pakistan where authorities say around 80 percent of the estimated 1 million internally displaced persons [IDPs] have settled in Bannu district, while much of the remaining 20 percent are scattered in nearby cities.
Video

Video Kurdish Peshmerga Force Secures Kirkuk, Its Oil

The Kurdistan regional government has sent its Peshmerga troops into the adjacent province of Kirkuk to drive out insurgents, and to secure the area's rich oil fields. By doing this, the regional government has added a fourth province to the three it officially controls. The oil also provides revenue that could make an independent Kurdistan economically strong. VOA’s Jeffrey Young went out with the Peshmerga and filed this report.
Video

Video Malaysia Reeling: Second Air Disaster in Four Months

Malaysia is reeling from the second air disaster in four months involving the country’s flag carrier. Flight 340 vanished in March and despite an extensive search, no debris has been found. And on Thursday, Flight 17, likely hit by a surface-to-air missile, came apart over eastern Ukraine. The two incidents together have left more than 500 people dead. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Kuala Lumpur.
Video

Video Diplomatic Crisis Grows Over MH17 Plane Crash

The Malaysia Airlines crash in eastern Ukraine is drawing reaction from leaders around the world. With suspicions growing that a surface-to-air missile shot down the aircraft, there are increasing tensions in the international community over who is to blame. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Undocumented Immigrants Face Perilous Journey to US, No Guarantees

Every day, hundreds of undocumented immigrants from Central America attempt the arduous journey through Mexico and turn themselves over to U.S. border patrol -- with the hope that they will not be turned away. But the dangers they face along the way are many, and as Ramon Taylor reports from the Rio Grande Valley in Texas, their fate rests on more than just the reception they get at the US border.
Video

Video Scientists Create Blackest Material Ever

Of all the black things in the universe only the infamous "black holes" are so black that not even a tiny amount of light can bounce back. But scientists have managed to create material almost as black, and it has enormous potential use. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Fog Collector Transforming Maasai Water Harvesting in Kenya

The Maasai people of Kenya are known for their cattle-herding, nomadic lifestyle. But it's an existence that depends on access to adequate water for their herds and flocks. Lenny Ruvaga reports for VOA, on a "fog collector."

AppleAndroid