BEIJING, Dec. 8 -- China's central authorities on Sunday published a regulation that explicitly ruled out dishes containing shark fins, bird nests and wild animal products in official reception dinners.
The document, jointly issued by the general offices of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and the State Council, detailed regulations of the use of public funding on receptions by local authorities to receive visiting Party or governmental officials.
Shark fins, bird nests and products of rare wild animals are popular materials in luxury dinners in China.
Officials on business tours should arrange their own meals according to relevant expenditure standards and the local hosts are allowed to provide only one reception dinner if needed, the regulation said.
The regulation said cigarettes and up-market liquors are not allowed to be served at official dinners and such receptions should not be held in private clubs or upscale places.
It is also prohibited to organize conference and activities at tourist attractions or commercial entertainment venues and government funds should not be used to cover officials' personal recreational visits, according to the documents.
Moreover, officials below provincial level should not live in suite rooms on their business trips, it said.
Local hosts are also banned from giving cash, negotiable securities, souvenirs or local products as gifts for the officials.
The regulation reiterated the requirements that no welcoming ceremony, banners or carpets should be arranged in receiving officials at airports and stations and the number of the officials' accompanists should be strictly controlled.
The use of government vehicles and police cars in reception activities should also be kept within a reasonable level, it said.
Moreover, the regulation said public spending on official receptions should be listed as a separate item in the authorities' budgets and relevant information should be made open for the public's supervision.
Disciplinary and supervisory agencies are told to strengthen supervision over the use of government funds on such activities and officials who violated the rule should be held accountable.
In addition to simplicity and transparency, the document stated that traditions of relevant ethnic minority groups should also be well respected.
According to the document, the new rules are to promote frugality, oppose extravagance and enhance the anti-corruption drive among Party and governmental authorities.
The new regulation will also be applied to state-owned enterprises, state-owned financial institutions and state-sponsored organizations.
In addition to strict rules, the document also features reform efforts to curb extravagance in official receptions, said a statement by the Government Offices Administration on Sunday.
The regulation has mapped out reforms in the administrative system of official receptions and a system of centralized management of the resources for the reception expenses, the statement said.
Moreover, the statement said rules in the new regulation are practical, making the enforcement much easier.
Lin Jiabin, an analyst with the social development division of the Development Research Center of the State Council, said the new regulation is expected to put a halt to the lavishing on official reception banquets as the rules are very detailed and practical.
However, he also urged further improvement to the systems for the administration of financial and fiscal expenditures to ensure the long-term enforcement of the anti-extravagance drive.
Local authorities tend to offer excessive reception for visiting officials as part of their ostentation displays, and the root for such problems lies in the loopholes with relevant systems, said Lin Shuanglin, director of the public finance research center of Peking University.
Such practices have caused huge wastes and fueled the lavish life styles among some officials, said Xie Chuntao, a professor with the Party School of the CPC Central Committee.
As the new regulation has clearly defined the limits and restrictions in relevant activities, it is expected to generate positive effects to the frugality campaign, Lin Shuanglin said.