September 28, 2018 / 12:36 AM / a year ago

China graft watchdog warns officials about holiday excess

SHANGHAI (Reuters) - As China winds down for a week-long national break, the country’s graft watchdog has sent officials happy holiday wishes - with a twist.

The Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI) warned officials to stick to a stringent “frugality code” over the mid-Autumn festival next week and avoid receiving money or abusing public funds, the state-run China Daily said on Friday.

The holiday, which starts on Monday, sees companies, markets and government bodies shut down and is often a time for banquets and gift-giving - which have come under scrutiny from a long-running corruption crackdown led by President Xi Jinping.

“Those using public funds for banquets, giving or accepting gifts or money, using official cars without authorisation and holding lavish weddings or funerals were frequently found ahead of or during such holidays in recent years,” the CCDI said.

The commission added that from 2015-2017 it had found 989 cases of officials violating frugality rules, including giving unauthorised bonuses or misusing public funds, during the country’s two “Golden Week” holidays.

“Such holidays are good for allowing officials to have a rest, but discipline must be continuously highlighted during the period,” the body said.

China’s anti-corruption drive has snared politicians and company leaders over the last few years. The latest high-profile case saw the director of China’s National Energy Administration placed under investigation for graft this month.

Reporting by Adam Jourdan; Editing by Michael Perry

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