left corner left corner
China Daily Website  

'Extravagant' buildings offer foundation for criticism

Updated: 2014-08-06 15:47
By Cao Yin ( chinadaily.com.cn)

China's central authorities are requiring all government departments and localities to check for construction of extravagant, landmark buildings.

Recent years have seen some localities and departments race to build luxurious buildings that have not only wasted government funds — imposing financial burdens on the people — but have encouraged the spread of extravagance and hedonism, according to a circular from central authorities leading the "mass-line" campaign.

'Extravagant' buildings offer foundation for criticism

Anti-graft crackdown

The campaign was launched in June to cement Party-people ties and cut undesirable work styles such as bureaucracy and extravagance.

The overhaul will target the construction of such cosmetic projects that use funds originally allocated to poverty reduction and disaster relief, or those by governments that are in debt.

Wang Xixin, a professor of administrative law at Peking University, spoke highly of the circular.

"Some luxurious buildings are not beautiful and useful, and have encountered criticism among residents online. But to get achievements and attract businesses, some governors still put great expense into this field," Wang said.

"Establishing a government image with useless and strange buildings is not sensible and is a waste of money," he added.

The circular asked government departments and localities to take correctional measures if such buildings do exist, but it did not specify the measures.

Should violations be found, the circular said, the responsible officials will be sternly punished.

Governments, State-owned enterprises and public institutions should dedicate personnel for internal checks, it said.

Zhou Shunzhen, a professor of administrative law at Renmin University of China, said that it is very common to see such luxurious buildings in counties and townships.

Governments at those levels aim to show up their power and often think central supervision or inspection will not affect them, according to Zhou.

"The circular is also a signal for governments that intend to spend money on luxurious buildings or just start construction, asking them to stop," she said.

The central authorities want to control the waste from the root, she added.