Chinese government spends less on travel, vehicles, receptions

Chinese government spends less on travel, vehicles, receptions

BEIJING - The Chinese central government has further cut back on its expenditures on overseas trips, vehicles and receptions in 2014.

The central government spent 5.88 billion yuan (about $947 million) on the so-called "three public consumptions" last year, down 1.27 billion from the budgeted figure, finance minister Lou Jiwei said Sunday when presenting a State Council report on central government final accounts for review by lawmakers.

Overall, some 1.62 billion yuan were spent on overseas visits, 356 million less than the budgeted figure, 3.60 billion on the purchase and maintenance of government vehicles, down 528 million, and 661 million yuan on official receptions, down 387 million.

Lou said decrease was the result of an ongoing frugality campaign launched by Chinese President Xi Jinping, as well as the downsizing of delegations traveling overseas and stricter management of government vehicles and official receptions.

China has long been bedeviled by officials tapping expenses accounts to sightsee abroad in the name of official visits, drive work vehicles on personal errands, and enjoy luxurious receptions and accommodation.

The frugality campaign spearheaded by Xi, however, is driving down the figures in a bid to build a cleaner and more transparent government.

The "eight-point rules" championed by Xi - requiring government officials to strictly practice frugality and clean up undesirable work styles, including formalism and extravagance - have seen excess and unregulated spending gradually ebb.

The government's plan to auction nearly 3,200 vehicles expropriated last year also helped.