Some officials spend 70% of their time on banquets, and if they don’t have any banquet, they still want a drink, says a professor at Beijing Normal University.
Zhu Guangming (朱光明), head of the Government Management Institute at Beijing Normal University, says corruption and waste in official reception is becoming increasingly severe.
“Official receptions have become a hotbed of corruption and a key cause of friction between officials and people. It’s time to put a stop to this,” warns Mr. Zhu.
A Beijing-based public servant, who refused to be named, told China Youth Daily that different branches of government often visit each other in the name of “exchanging ideas and learning from each other.” After the real visit is concluded in two or three hours, they move on to the banquet table with all kinds of expensive dishes and liquors like Maotai, he said.
Official receptions, official foreign visits and expenses on government cars form the so-called sangong xiaofei (三公消费), or the “three public consumptions”, a huge but intransparent part of government spending.
Jiusan Society, one of eight political parties officially recognised in China, estimates that Chinese officials spend as much as 300 billion yuan (47.74 billion USD) on food and entertainment. According to the state-owned Study Times, however, sangong expenses could as high as 900 billion yuan (143.42 billion USD).
Both estimates eclipse the 200 billion yuan the State Council estimates it will cost to build a universal health care system in China.