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China bans delegates at annual congress from holding banquets amid graft concerns

Published on Mar 4, 2014 2:25 PM
A security guard standing in front of The Great Hall of the People before the upcoming opening sessions of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) and the National People's Congress (NPC) in Beijing on March 2, 2014. -- PHOTO: AFP

BEIJING (AFP) - China has banned delegates to its annual rubber-stamp Parliament from holding banquets, an official said on Tuesday as the government tries to improve its image following regular corruption scandals.

Delegates to the National People's Congress (NPC), which meets to formally approve policies decided by the ruling Communist party, are also barred from exchanging gifts and will no longer be served "expensive food, wine, and beverages" at their buffet meals, Congress spokesman Fu Ying told a press conference.

China's leaders have stressed austerity as they try to rein in extravagant feasts and luxury spending, with President Xi Jinping vowing to crack down on endemic corruption among high- and low-ranking officials.

Several senior personnel have been ousted on corruption charges in recent years, while regular reports of low-level malfeasance are a major source of popular discontent with the authorities.

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