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Party schools give officials lessons in frugality


09:06, March 20, 2013

Officials studying at training centers or Party schools are banned from squandering taxpayers' money on banquets or entertainment activities, according to a new regulation.

The regulation, released by the Organization Department of the CPC Central Committee, was made in line with a document adopted at a meeting of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee chaired by Party chief Xi Jinping in December.

The document requires officials to reduce meetings, condense papers, minimize traffic disruptions during official visits and exercise frugality.

It asks officials to live in school dormitories and eat at canteens during their studies.

Trainees should not offer banquets funded by public money to other trainees or teachers, and should not hold dinner parties in the name of a collective activity, it said.

Trainees should not participate in any banquet or entertainment activity that may affect fairness in carrying out their work. Violators will be asked to leave the school, according to the regulation.

Training schools that conduct on-site investigations should not use police cars to lead the way, present souvenirs to trainees or arrange tourism or entertainment activities that are irrelevant to their studies.

Trainees are not allowed to give gifts, money or securities to each other or invite other trainees for travel in the name of communication, cross-investigation or collective study, said the regulation.

Trainees are not allowed to visit overseas during studies.

The regulation states that trainees should write research reports and papers by themselves and they are not allowed to hire ghostwriters or ask their secretaries to accompany them during their studies.

At the same time, trainees are not allowed to form fraternities or alumni associations or organize collective activities after graduation.

Trainees should not use their relationships as schoolmates to help each other in private interests such as children's schooling, employment or business. Violators will be seriously punished, according to the regulation.

Wang Lingyi, a researcher at the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences, said it is an "open secret" that officials studying at Party schools make friends with each other for benefits.

"But it's not easy to change a custom that schoolmates normally keep in touch and even strengthen relations after graduation," he said.

Wu Hui, associate professor of Party building at the Party School of the CPC Central Committee, hails the regulation and believes it serves as a guide to change how officials study.

Wu said many officials bring their secretaries when studying at Party schools and ask secretaries to write papers for them.

"Officials often use the chance to form ties with superior officials," he said.

Wu said almost all of the bad practices that the regulation bans are common and it's urgent to mend that.

"Officials are always too busy dining and making friends, and they do not put enough energy into studying," he said.

The ultimate goal of training is to help officials solve problems they face, he said, "so trainees should focus on their studies and the results it can yield."

The Party School of the CPC Central Committee provides courses for county-level officials and above, and all trainees should ask permission if they want to leave school and they should return to the dormitory before 11 pm, according to Wu.

The school will also randomly check student attendance at class and the canteen, he added.

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