Sorry guys, the party's over

The government of President Ha Jintao cracks down on overseas spending

Sorry guys, the party's over

Feng Li/AP

Sparked by public outrage over government corruption, Beijing has promised to crack down on excessive spending by government officials on overseas seminars and functions—expenses that cost Chinese taxpayers 400 billion yuan ($58 billion) a year. Speaking specifically about lavish parties—at some, revellers have reportedly died due to excessive drinking—Wu Yuliang, secretary-general of the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, says the government is committed to eradicating “the extravagance and waste.”

Last year, 113,000 officials were punished for corruption, but only 4,300 cases were deemed worthy enough to be investigated for potential legal action. And critics have low expectations that the government’s anti-corruption plan, laid out last month in a 39-page report, will result in big changes. “If your leaders are already corrupt and you want those leaders to fight corruption, then in reality I don’t think this is sincere,” says human rights lawyer Pu Zhiqiang. “Absolute power corrupts absolutely.”

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