Opinion / Op-Ed Contributors

No restrictions on normal moon cake gifts

By Fang Zhou (China Daily) Updated: 2015-09-18 07:33

No restrictions on normal moon cake gifts

A Chinese clerk shows a gold mooncake at a gold shop in Handan city, north China's Hebei province, on Aug 22, 2013.

Not surprisingly, the top anti-corruption watchdog has once again acted to forestall possible malpractices involving the use of public money to buy moon cakes and other gifts during the upcoming Mid-Autumn Festival and National Day holidays as part of its ongoing campaign against extravagance and corruption.

On Sept 6, the publicity department of the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection issued a circular, urging publicity departments at various levels under the CCDI to effectively monitor the practice of giving expensive gifts like luxurious moon cakes during the festival.

Considering that various types of malpractices involving public funds - for example, officials using public money to buy gifts during festivals and national holidays - continued in the past despite the authorities' severe warnings, a series of alerts issued by the top Party discipline watchdog and its renewed crackdown on such illegal activities are welcome.

Such regular crackdowns on extravagance and corruption, especially during "high-risk periods" - usually in the run-up to major festivals and holidays - are necessary because they demonstrate the serious and consistent attitude of the leadership toward the series of measures it has introduced since late 2012 to end the lavish lifestyle of and advocate frugality among Party and government officials. In the public's eyes, such a campaign constitutes part of a broad range of steps toward building a clean and austere Party and government.

However, the campaign against extravagance and corruption should not be interpreted as an all-inclusive ban on normal welfare services and assistance traditionally extended by employers to employees such as festival gifts to enhance cohesion and build a better labor-capital relationship.

Due to fears of being linked to extravagance and misuse of public money, some employers have cancelled all normal welfares and benefits that used to be extended to employees during major festivals. For example, some employers have stopped the distribution of low-priced moon cakes for Mid-Autumn Festival among employees, while others have stopped gifting desk calendars and diaries for the New Year.

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