China sacks two officials who trash restaurant over cheap liquor

BEIJING (REUTERS) - China sacked two officials who ransacked a restaurant and beat the manager in a fit of rage over their small servings of food and cheap liquor, state media said on Thursday, amid a crackdown on extravagance by the country's top leaders.

Mr Li Jingli, the party secretary in Xingtangsi township in Shanxi province, was dining with eight other local officials, including the head of discipline inspection Liu Bin, when the quarrel with the restaurant manager started.

The People's Daily reported the two officials were upset at being served "small dishes and cheap cigarettes and liquor".

The group forced the manager to drink liquor, and Mr Liu beat the person while Mr Li smashed up the restaurant, the online version of the party mouthpiece said.

"They marched off, the scene in complete disorder, leaving no way for the restaurant to continue normal operations," it said.

The nine officials present at the banquet were punished, including Mr Li and Mr Liu, who were demoted, the People's Daily said, adding that it was unclear if the restaurant owner would be compensated.

The Communist Party has been eager to project a frugal image since Mr Xi Jinping became president last year, renewing efforts to stamp out corruption and win back public confidence after an endless series of scandals involving high-living officials.

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