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10 Aug, 2013

“Clean Government” policy: China says official spending now largely checked


BEIJING, 2013-08-09 (Xinhua) – A regulation proposed by Chinese Premier Li Keqiang on major measures to slash government spending has been properly and effectively implemented, the government said on Thursday.

However, violations have not been eliminated, according to the statement, which added that the State Council, or China’s cabinet, will work with relevant authorities to intensify supervision and investigate problems related to the implementation of the regulation.

The regulation, announced by Li at his press debut as premier in March, includes a halt to new government building construction and a reduction in spending on both government employees and official receptions, vehicles and overseas trips.

“The regulation is a solemn promise that the new government made to society with concrete measures to advance the building of a clean government,” the statement said, adding that spending on government buildings has largely been contained.

Since March, local governments have issued their own regulations to reduce new government building construction, including stopping approvals for the construction, expansion, restoration and purchase of new government offices and training centers.

All new projects approved after the new government was installed must be stopped, while problems with projects approved prior to March should be promptly rectified, it said.

To expose and handle violations swiftly, some local authorities have set up inspection organs and formulated regulations concerning government information transparency, as well as the petitioning and reporting systems.

Moreover, central authorities have strengthened management over funds used by central government departments, as well as carried out strict audits and final accounting in order to rein in spending.

The General Office of the State Council organized an inspection in May and published information concerning the violations uncovered during the inspection in July.

The cost of supporting the employees of government departments and government-funded institutions has been strictly managed, the statement said.

The central government has set caps for the number of government-supported personnel that can be employed by local administrative agencies, the government said, adding that the caps have largely been observed.

In recent months, central and local governments have worked to control their total number of staff and improve the efficiency of their current staff, the statement said.

No new employees will be added to government departments that are already overstaffed and measures have been taken to deal with “freeloaders” in government agencies and government-funded organizations, the statement said.

Both central and local governments have cut their spending on  government employees and official receptions, vehicles and overseas trips this year, according to the statement.

Such spending by central government departments has dropped 1.6 percent year on year so far this year, with planned spending on receptions down 4.3 percent from 2012, it said.

Information on official receptions has been digitized for better supervision.