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Sutirtho Patranobis, Hindustan Times
Beijing, December 22, 2012
The writing on the wall was clear when Communist Party of China (CPC) general secretary Xi Jinping recently walked up to a military cafeteria in South China and had a buffet meal. As if on cue, the Beijing Municipality on Saturday announced a ban on banquets — usually comprising dozens of dishes to gulp down with unending local Chinese wine — for officials in the capital on business.

“Officials at various levels will all receive buffet-style meals during work-related visits to Beijing,” media said.

The ban comes a day after the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) banned liquor and luxury banquets during receptions for officers.

The new regulations are not limited to food. “The regulations state that speakers at meetings should avoid empty talk, while military commission officials will not be allowed to attend ribbon-cutting and cornerstone-laying ceremonies, celebrations or seminars unless they have received approval from the of the CPC Central Committee or the CMC.”

In Beijing, news publishers will be required to shorten the lengths of stories on officials’ activities, “which have often bored people due to the stories’ wordy, meaningless style.”

The use of vehicles equipped with sirens will be controlled during official visits.

CMC officials are also required to discipline their spouses, children and subordinates and make sure they do not take bribes.