China targets corruption at source with government building ban

In a bid to crack down on corruption and bolster the state’s image of frugality, China’s State Council is considering strict new limits on the construction of government buildings.

The draft published last week bans buildings with hospitality facilities such as reception rooms, accommodation, and banquet halls – including such facilities labeled ‘training centers’, Xinhua news agency reported.

If the regulation becomes law new government offices must be thoroughly backed up with feasibility reports and design blueprints, and they must be officially approved before construction can begin.

Any form of loans from financial institutes, sponsorships and fund-raising schemes would be prohibited.

The move would make permanent a five-year ban on the construction of new government buildings tabled last year.

According to Xinhua, "lavish government office compounds have been pivotal for local officials to showcase their pride and take in counterparts who usually visit in the name of business trips or attending training courses."

Under the draft rules, officials and departments involved in illegal construction projects will be named and shamed, and those in serious cases will be held criminally responsible. Projects will be halted and the buildings in question will be evacuated and confiscated.

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