Hide cash in manure pits, drink Maotai in mineral water bottles - China officials' creative ways to beat anti-luxury drive

The past two years of Chinese President Xi Jinping's anti-corruption drive has been one continuous exposé of Chinese officials' creativity when it comes to hiding their ill-gotten gains. Wary of being seen drinking expensive liquor like top-shelf ba
The past two years of Chinese President Xi Jinping's anti-corruption drive has been one continuous exposé of Chinese officials' creativity when it comes to hiding their ill-gotten gains. Wary of being seen drinking expensive liquor like top-shelf baijiu brand Maotai in public, officials are known to ask the restaurant beforehand to pour the alcohol into empty bottles of cheap, generic baijiu brands, or into mineral water bottles. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

THE past two years of Chinese President Xi Jinping's anti-corruption drive has been one continuous exposé of Chinese officials' creativity when it comes to hiding their ill-gotten gains.

Nabbed officials have been found to be hiding stacks of cash in their toilets, fish ponds and even in manure pits.

Now, with austerity measures for officials forbidding everything from receiving presents to claiming state funds for training courses, cadres are flexing their creativity in new and unexpected ways to get around the rules.

On Tuesday, a People's Daily commentary decried officials who go to rural getaways and countryside "study trips" to play mahjong or poker, as open gambling is now strictly forbidden.

In September alone, the central government said that it disciplined 8,157 officials for trying to get around the austerity rules.

Here's a look at some of their enterprising measures.

1. Officials cannot accept red packets or gifts anymore:

So they ask for giftcards, especially electronic giftcards with no physical trace. A bonus is that there is no need to hide stacks of cash in and around their houses.

2. Officials are wary of being seen drinking expensive liquor like top-shelf baijiu brand Maotai in public:

So, some ask the restaurant beforehand to pour Maotai or other top baijiu into empty bottles of cheap, generic baijiu brands, or into mineral water bottles.

3. Officials cannot claim expensive banquet meals anymore:

So, some have renovated their in-house office canteens into five-star restaurants with private rooms and fine-dining chefs and invite guests over for lunch.

4. Officials cannot go for expensive training courses or sign themselves up for MBAs or other graduate programmes anymore:

The solution? Some hire expensive private tutors to conduct in-house sessions, and claim the fees under "miscellaneous office expenses".

5. Officials can now only use state cars for official business:

So, they keep an alternative "normal" car plate and hang it over the original car plate - which identifies the car as a state vehicle - when they use the car for their own purposes.