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No prawns, no free fruit for Party Congress delegates

BEIJING No free fruit in hotel rooms, no free hair cuts and no prawns on the menu - delegates at this week's Communist Party Congress in China can expect austere treatment in keeping with President Xi Jinping's pledge to crack down on corruption and extravagance.

Part of Mr Xi's fight against deep-seated graft has been to ensure that officials are not seen abusing their positions and wasting public money, after a series of scandals involving high-living bureaucrats ignited public anger.

Mr Wang Lilian, who has helped oversee hospitality for delegates at three such events, told state radio in remarks reported yesterday that this time, things will be different.

Delegates will find their hotels bereft of the large welcoming banners and flowers common in previous years.

But the biggest difference will be in their rooms and food, Mr Wang said.

"There won't be any more fruit put out in rooms," he said.

The food is also going to be home-style and simple, Mr Wang said. "There is no sea cucumber, prawns or the like. It is all buffet style."

Delegates will not get free hair cuts or beauty treatments, and there will not be any gift shops. "There are none of these services this time," Mr Wang said.

SIMPLE LIVING

Mr Xi himself has led the way in promoting simple living, with state media widely reporting on the basic food he eats when on trips around the country, and giving extensive coverage to cases where officials are found to have hoarded gold, owned multiple houses or had a fondness for banquets.

Mr Xi has warned, like others before him, that if corruption is not tackled it could affect the party's grip on power.

- REUTERS

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