When delegates arrive in Beijing this week for China’s big Communist Party congress, no giant welcoming banners will there to greet them at their hotels and no free fruit will be awaiting them in their rooms, as part of an ongoing austerity campaign under Chinese President Xi Jinping.
Since coming to power back in 2012/2013, Xi’s most highly-publicized platform has been taking on rampant corruption inside the Communist Party, snaring both “tigers” and “flies” alike. This anti-extravagance obsession will be fully on display at the extremely important 19th Party Congress, set to open on Wednesday, where officials will find fewer frills and thrills than they are accustomed to seeing.
Over the weekend, Wang Lilian, who has helped to oversee hospitality for delegates to the last three party congresses told China National Radio that in the past delegates visiting Beijing would be greeted with big red banners, copious amounts of flowers and fresh fruit ready to eat in their rooms. This year, there will be none of that.
In addition, gone are the extravagant official banquets of the past. On the menu this year will be simple, home-style food with no prawn or sea cucumber buffet.
Wang also added that while in congresses past, officials were given free haircuts, wardrobe and beauty treatment services in Beijing, this time, they’ll have to fend for themselves in that regard.
Rather than taking away from the grandeur of the event, Wang sees all of these changes as positive, explaining that they have significantly improved cadres’ mental spirit, allowing them to focus on what’s really important.
At the twice-a-decade Communist Party congress, Xi Jinping is expected to start his second five-year term as China’s leader by consolidating his power in a much-anticipated leadership reshuffle. To ensure that nothing disturbs this signature event, Beijing has gone into lockdown ahead of the congress.
According to the Financial Times, home renovations, gym classes, model airplane flights and “a host of other mundane activities” have all been suspended this week in Beijing. Last week, it was revealed that Airbnb had canceled all Beijing bookings until the end of the month. In addition, the sale of fireworks has been prohibited and all KTVs are reportedly being closed down until the congress is over.
In addition, thousands of police officers from other provinces have been sent to the Chinese capital while all police leave in Beijing has been canceled since early September. ID checks have been ramped up at transport stations around the city to detain unregistered workers, petitioners and other potential troublemakers. You can officers here, hard at work:
Pre-party congress, the online security never rests. pic.twitter.com/k3iUbSlXDn
— Chris Buckley 储百亮 (@ChuBailiang) October 15, 2017
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