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

Westgate Mall Attack Survivors Confront Painful Memories

On anniversary of terror attack, survivors discuss how they have coped with trauma they experienced that day More

Iraqi Kurd President Urges World Community to Protect Syrian City

Islamic State fighters are besieging Kobani, also known as Ayn al-Arab, after seizing at least 21 surrounding villages in a major assault against city on Syria's northern border with Turkey More

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

Conservationists hail ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015 More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Russian Economy Reeling After New Western Sanctionsi
X
September 18, 2014 2:28 AM
A new wave of Western sanctions is hitting Russia’s economy hard. State-owned energy firms continue to bleed profits and Russia’s national currency plunged to a new low this week after the U.S. and the European Union announced new sanctions to punish Russia's aggressive stance in eastern Ukraine. But as Mil Arcega reports, the sanctions could also prove costly for European and American companies.
Video

Video Russian Economy Reeling After New Western Sanctions

A new wave of Western sanctions is hitting Russia’s economy hard. State-owned energy firms continue to bleed profits and Russia’s national currency plunged to a new low this week after the U.S. and the European Union announced new sanctions to punish Russia's aggressive stance in eastern Ukraine. But as Mil Arcega reports, the sanctions could also prove costly for European and American companies.
Video

Video Belgian Researchers Discover Way to Block Cancer Metastasis

Cancer remains one of the deadliest diseases, despite many new methods to combat it. Modern medicine has treatments to prevent the growth of primary tumor cells. But most cancer deaths are caused by metastasis, the stage when primary tumor cells change and move to other parts of the body. A team of Belgian scientists says it has found a way to prevent that process. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Mogadishu's Flood of Foreign Workers Leaves Somalis Out of Work

Unemployment and conflict has forced many young Somalians out of the country in search of a better life. But a newfound stability in the once-lawless nation has created hope — and jobs — which, some say, are too often being filled by foreigners. Abdulaziz Billow reports from Mogadishu.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.
Video

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

China says its has sentenced three men to death and one woman to life in prison for a deadly knife attack in March that left more than 30 dead and 140 injured. Beijing says Muslim militants from China's restive western region of Xinjiang carried out the attacks. Now, more than six months after the incident, residents in the city are still coping with the aftermath. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Kunming.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid