A campaign against corrupt officials. (Photo/CNS)
Officials in China waste about 1 trillion yuan (US$160 billion) in public funds every year, according to a survey conducted by the party-run People's Tribune in Beijing.
Excessive banquets were the major drain on the public purse. In 1989, the This means the majority of public spending, some 37 billion yuan (US$5.8 billion at present exchange rate), went towards filling officials' stomachs. By 1994, that amount had exceeded 100 billion yuan (US$16 billion). The figure finally reached 1 trillion yuan per year in 2010.
About 4,108 party cadres interviewed by the People's Tribune said the money spent on official receptions or extravagant banquets does not help their financial condition directly, but does permit them to schmooze in order to help secure a promotion in the future.
After the new party chief Xi Jinping launched a nationwide purge of corruption and lavish spending from the end of last year, officials like Yan Lifeng are finding their playboy lifestyles coming to a close. The party secretary of Xifeng county in Liaoning province was recently found to have a car worth 1.5 million yuan (US$238,000), paid for with public money, for his personal use — something not permitted for someone of his rank.
Such an expensive car did not sit well with the public's internet users, with one saying, "It does not matter where leaders go, they will never be poor." With a fake license plate from the People's Armed Police, Yan would park his luxury car outside hotels illegally but with impunity.
The outcry from social media eventually forced an apology from Yan, who claimed however that the car was actually borrowed from his friend.
Lin Yaochang, a member of the National People's Congress from Shanwei in Guangdong province, was recently reported to have made 300 million yuan (US$48 million) by selling off the local cemetery illegally.
Yan Lifeng 閆立峰
Lin Yaochang 林耀昌