For many years top Chinese politicians have lived a bit like rock stars, without the paparazzi. Never mind that few of the political elite have swagger like Jagger, China’s leaders have long enjoyed walking red carpets, waving before enthusiastic (if preorganized) crowds, traveling with large entourages, and speaking from stages adorned with crimson banners and lavish floral arrangements. On overseas trips, busloads of Chinese students are often brought in to make photogenic, adoring greetings at airports.
Now these perks are being assailed. According to a statement released on Tuesday by China’s governing 25-member Politburo, red carpets, expensive banners, traffic blockades, and other varieties of ostentation should be eliminated “in order to remain close with the public.” As reported by China’s state-run Xinhua News, the statement continued: “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.”
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