Chinese Communist Party chief Xi Jinping took aim at wordy meetings and over-the-top welcoming ceremonies yesterday, demanding less show and fewer hangers-on for foreign trips.
Top officials rarely go anywhere in the country without giving stultifying speeches and receiving fawning welcomes from local people, complete with heavily made-up children presenting flowers. But Xi signaled he was having none of it.
Visits around the country by top leaders should no longer be met by red carpets, welcome banners or banquets, said a statement after a meeting of the 25-member Political Bureau of the Party's Central Committee.
Meetings must be shortened and empty talk banned, the statement said.
One staple of foreign visits always shown in detail by state television will also go - airport welcoming parties made up of students and residents. Gone, too, will be the hordes of trailing functionaries on such trips.
Officials' visits abroad should only be arranged when needed in terms of foreign affairs with fewer accompanying members, and on most of the occasions, there was no need for a reception by overseas Chinese people, institutions and students at airports, the statement said.
"The style of officials, particularly top officials, has an important impact upon the style of the Party and the style of the government and even on the whole of society," the statement said.
"Such a way of doing things must first start with the Standing Committee," it said.
The meeting presided over by Xi agreed to cut spending and the number of escorts for leaders on official domestic and overseas visits, strictly regulate arrangements for national official meetings and major events, and improve the efficiency of official conferences and the issuing of documents.
The meeting also agreed to fewer traffic controls arranged for leaders' trips to avoid unnecessary inconvenience to the public.
State media must also restrain themselves from issuing pointless stories about official events unless there is real news value, and even when they do write articles they must be short and to the point, the statement said.
All members of the Political Bureau are being urged to understand the real situation facing society through in-depth inspections at grassroots level.
This should be done especially in places where social problems are more acute, and inspection tours as a mere formality should be strictly prohibited, the statement said.
Senior leaders should work and listen to the public and officials at grassroots levels, and solve people's practical problems, the statement added.
The spending on officials' trips and inspections should be kept at "the minimum level," according to the statement.
Political Bureau members are also not allowed to attend all sorts of ribbon-cutting or cornerstone laying ceremonies, as well as celebrations and seminars, unless they get approval from the Party's Central Committee, the statement added.