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

China Investigates Former Powerful Security Chief

Former security chief and member of Politburo Standing Committee, Zhou Yongkang, under investigation for suspected 'serious disciplinary violation' More

India, US Look to Reset Ties During Kerry Visit

This week's talks will be first high level interaction between two countries since Prime Minister Narendra Modi took charge More

Video Young African Leadership Program Renamed to Honor Mandela

YALI program, launched by President Obama in 2010, aims to build skills in business, entrepreneurship, public management and civic leadership More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid