As part of China's drive for frugality and anti-corruption campaign, the central government's new rules on cutting conference spending will help fight formalism and extravagance.
The new measures on conference fee management, posted by the Ministry of Finance on its website on Monday, set the strictest ever controls on the sizes, lengths and venues of meetings so as to cut unnecessary costs with the slowing growth of fiscal revenue amid unfavorable economic situations.
Under the regulation, conference days should not be prolonged unnecessarily. If the participants are mainly from Beijing, the conference venue cannot be set outside of the capital. Meetings cannot be held at scenic sites, a practice which is banned by the Communist Party of China Central Committee and the State Council.
Spending on government gatherings as a share of China's gross domestic product (GDP) is high when considering that China is still a developing country. There is an urgent need to take the share under control and save money to improve people's livelihood.
Besides economic concerns, more importantly, the new rule could help eliminate extravagance and corruption and promote the building of a frugal and service-oriented government.
A frequent source of complaints from the public is the increasing number of conferences, the blind pursuit of attendance by officials as senior as possible, as well as the embezzlement of conference fees. These trends have frequently led to corruption in recent years, thus damaging the image of the government in many areas.
Now with specific regulations on meeting budgets, payment and publicity, the new measures will force conference organizers to focus more on effectiveness in solving problems rather than how to entertain government officials during gatherings.
The new rules follow other anti-waste campaigns which have swept from dinner tables to expensive galas in less than one year. The government has also pledged to reduce bureaucratic visits and stop building new offices, halls or guest houses for government use.
All these regulations have been welcomed by the public. But unless the implementation is guaranteed, underground waste and corruption will remain in the long run
In order to push forward the campaign, authorities should perfect supervision mechanisms and hand down severe punishment to those violating the rules so that no room is left for government waste and corruption.