Liu Binjie says officials should only be allowed to use public funds when receiving visitors from abroad. (Photo/CNS)
Liu Binjie, current chief of the Communist Party's General Administration of Press and Publication, the main media regulator, criticized the "three public consumptions" as a major cause of corruption in China, according to our sister newspaper Want Daily.
The policy allows government officials in China to spend public funds on overseas trips, vehicle purchases and official receptions. Liu blamed both local and government officials of abusing these allowances to accumulate personal wealth, and criticized the lack of rules and regulations restraining use of public funds for entertainment or private gain.
On his microblog account, Liu suggested that public funds should be used only for receiving foreign visitors, a move that he says would reduce unnecessary spending.
Lu Fengding, a member of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference National Committee — a top legislative body — and former Chinese ambassador to Niger and Sweden, supported the idea of cutting spending on the "three public consumptions." In his view, doing so would show government resolution in the fight against corruption.
"We need to learn from the experience of foreign countries and allow the people to supervise how money is spent by government officials," said Lu. Special car services given to functionaries should be terminated, Lu said, and they should be charged the same fees as others when using public vehicles or services while not on the clock.
For many in China, the public spending policy is the underlying cause of most official corruption; since most government employees are low salaries, they are more likely to abuse public funds.
Bringing the three consumptions down to zero may be the best way to tackle widespread corruption in China.
Liu Binjie 柳斌杰
Lu Fengding 呂鳳鼎