China has punished almost 20,000 officials in the last year for breaching rules to cut down on bureaucracy as well as pomp and ceremony, according to the government.
President Xi Jinping ordered the crackdown late last year, they said on Monday, when he became head of the ruling Communist Party, seeking to assuage public anger at waste and extravagance, particularly officials seen abusing their position to illegally amass wealth.
Xi demanded meetings be shortened, over-the-top welcoming ceremonies ditched, and wordy, meaningless speeches abandoned, as he sought to cut red tape and make the country’s bureaucracy more efficient and less prone to graft.
The party’s anti-corruption watchdog, the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, said the officials found breaching these rules had mostly been given administrative or internal party punishments, but did not give any details.
More than 5,000 officials were found to have breached rules connected to the use of official cars, while 903 were guilty of organising overly elaborate celebratory events, the watchdog said in a statement on its website.
Others were singled out for being “mediocre” or “indolent”, the statement said.
Xi has said that endemic corruption threatens the party’s very survival and has vowed to go after high-flying “tigers” as well as lowly “flies”.