x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

China vows to cut perks and corruption

President Xi Jinping says his government will 'resolutely reject formalism, hedonism and extravagance, and resolutely fight against corruption and other misconduct in all manifestations'.

BEIJING // China's new leaders pledged yesterday to run a cleaner, more efficient government and slash spending on official perks as the ceremonial legislature wrapped up a pivotal session to install a new leadership.

The once-in-a-decade transition that began in November under strict orchestration by China's ruling Communist Party has taken place at a time of lower estimates of future economic growth and rising public anger over massive corruption, waste, and extravagant spending that are exasperating a yawning wealth gap.

President Xi Jinping said his government would "resolutely reject formalism, hedonism and extravagance, and resolutely fight against corruption and other misconduct in all manifestations".

Shortly afterwards, the prime minister, Li Keqiang, said the central government would slash its payroll and freeze spending on overseas trips, guesthouses, office buildings and new vehicles in response to falling revenues.

Although low growth is expected to continue, spending on social programmes will only increase, Mr Li said.

Niu Jun, a scholar at Peking University's School of International Relations, said Mr Xi and Mr Li hit on topics familiar to a Chinese public that has grown weary of promises to fight inefficiency, corruption and waste.

"I don't have terribly high expectations for these new pledges."