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SOE boss suspended for flouting frugality campaign


10:08, February 06, 2013

GUANGZHOU, Feb. 5 (Xinhua) -- The boss of a state-owned enterprise in south China was suspended from his post on Tuesday due to his part in a luxury banquet last month which flouted the country's frugality campaign.

Zhou Shaoqiang, general manager of Zhuhai Financial Investment Holdings Co., Ltd, was ordered to undertake self-reflection over public expenditure which exceeded standards, said the Communist Party of China's discipline authorities in Zhuhai, Guangdong Province.

A banquet which Zhou and 16 others had in a local restaurant on Jan. 4 cost 37, 517 yuan (about 5, 974 U.S, dollars), far more than the fake bill of 4, 689 yuan, which the restaurant had claimed under the instruction of Zhou.

The high expenditure "seriously violated regulations at central, provincial and municipal levels and caused an extremely bad social impact," said the authorities in a statement.

With the consumption of 12 bottles of expensive red wine, the extravagant dinner was first exposed on the Internet and sparked criticism among netizens as the country has recently launched a frugality campaign.

Zhou denied that participants had drunk 12 bottles of red wine, saying only six bottles were drunk and the other six were empty ones for them to learn red wine knowledge.

Results of an investigation conducted by the Zhuhai state-owned assets supervision authorities said the bill was just 4,689 yuan. Netizens expressed doubts about the "frugal" dinner.

However, further probe showed the banquet indeed consumed 12 bottles of red wine, whose prices were 23, 706 yuan in total, said the statement by Zhuhai municipal discipline authorities.

The part of the bill which exceeded consumption standards would be paid by the diners themselves, said the statement.

The discipline authorities of Zhuhai state-owned assets supervision and administration commission were also scolded for their inaccurate probe about the case, it added.

Chinese leader Xi Jinping has urged all official organs to maintain a frugal lifestyle and oppose extravagance.

The recent annual provincial "two sessions", which referred to the meetings of local legislatures and political advisory bodies, also adopted new frugality moves in food and other respects.

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