Mooncakes latest victim of Xi’s fight against corruption

Reuters, BEIJING

Thu, Sep 05, 2013 - Page 6

China is banning officials from using public funds to buy mooncakes, pastries offered as gifts during the Mid-Autumn Festival, as part of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s (習近平) fight against corruption, the government said on Tuesday.

Officials cannot use public money to send mooncakes as gifts or to arrange banquets that are not related to official duties during the festival, which falls on Sept. 19 this year, the Chinese Communist Party’s Central Commission for Discipline Inspection said on its Web site.

“The Mid-Autumn Festival and National Day are approaching, we must resolutely put an end to using public funds,” the commission quoted Xi as saying, in reference to gifts, eating and drinking, tours and extravagant waste.

MOON FESTIVAL

Mooncakes are filled with ingredients such as lotus seed paste and salted duck egg yolk, and they symbolize the moon. The festival, also known as the Moon Festival, is marked by family reunions.

Anyone flouting the bans will be severely dealt with, the party discipline watchdog said.

Xi has made cutting back on extravagance and waste a main theme of his administration, seeking to assuage anger over corruption and restore faith in the party.

EXTRAVAGANCE

Last month, the government said it would ban officials from holding extravagant galas linked to official meetings that have hurt the government’s image.

Xi has told officials to end elaborate and long-winded welcoming ceremonies for him and other top leaders, and banished alcohol from military functions as he tries to project a man-of-the-people image.

The party, fearful of anything that could weaken its grip on power, has struggled to contain public anger over a string of corruption scandals.

Xi has warned that the party’s survival is at risk and the country could face unrest if graft is not tackled.