BEIJING – After years of building massive and lavish new government buildings, including structures inspired by the White House, Versailles and the U.S. Capitol, China is saying enough.

Central authorities have issued a five-year moratorium on construction of government offices, training centers and hotels, the latest step in a frugality drive that includes cutbacks on banquets, travel and other perks for bureaucrats.

According to the State Council, China’s Cabinet, the new policy issued late Tuesday is important for “building a clean government and … maintaining the image of the Communist Party.” Premier Li Keqiang promised the moratorium in his first speech after taking office in March, and Tuesday’s directive lays out the dos and don’ts.

Ostentatious official buildings have drawn criticism from citizen whistle-blowers and inspired national photo contests. In a country where officials have long been judged by how well they meet development targets, though, the quickest way to inflate growth figures has been to build something, the grander the better.

The ban is partially aimed at quelling public discontent over self-indulgent officials.


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.