China's new leaders issue first great directive: Stamp out pomp!

BEIJING – China’s leaders are banning the red carpets and brass bands. I snapped this pic in the Great Hall of the People in February during Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s most recent visit there.

When I first heard this, I thought it was a piece by The Onion or some satirical news site. But no, it appears that China’s leaders have gotten some sort of message. Here’s the Daily Telegraph‘s man in Beijing, Malcolm Moore:

[China’s Communist] Party leaders will no longer be greeted wherever they go with cheering crowds, banners, red carpets and elaborate flower displays, said a statement on Chinese state media after a meeting of the new 25-man Politburo.The updated rules also ban dull, long speeches and fawning write-ups in the state newspapers, as the party tries to reshape its image.

via Chinas new leaders ban red carpets, pomp and empty speeches – Telegraph.

Meanwhile, over at the China Daily, the English-language state-owned newspaper which carries the Chinese government’s propaganda line, there is more:

The new leadership asked officials to slash red tape, including unnecessary visits, meetings and pointless discussions, on Tuesday in a bid to better connect with the general public and stamp out pomp.

… senior Party officials [are] to end any possible displays of ostentation, including slashing spending on visits and cutting unnecessary etiquette. The number of meetings should also be reduced as should traffic disruption to the general public when officials traveled by road.

It also prohibits pointless media reporting and upholds the principle of diligence and frugality.

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