China bans new government buildings for 5 years


Chinese President Xi Jinping at the Great Hall of the People on March 19, 2013, in Beijing, China.


Feng Li

China has banned new construction, luxury makeovers and expansions of government buildings for the next five years.

"Banning the building of new government buildings is important for building a clean government and also a requirement for boosting CPC [Communist Party of China]-people ties and maintaining the image of the CPC and the government," the government’s directive said, according to the state-run Xinhua News Agency.

It’s the latest in a series of changes President Xi Jinping has introduced to squelch waste and corruption among Chinese government officials.

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In recent years, officials have sparked public outrage by spending lavishly to construct ostentatious buildings, sometimes in poor areas of the country. Unpopular buildings include a $4.89 million office building in the city of Fuyang in Anhui province nicknamed the “White House,” and a state-owned drug company decorated to look like France's Palace of Versailles.

“The main purpose of the call for a ban on new government buildings is largely symbolic in that these are a highly visible sign of government officials misusing public monies,” Andrew Wedeman, a political science professor at Georgia State University, told Bloomberg News.

“A real assault on corruption, however, requires a much less visible, long-term effort to attack the causes of corruption, not just those involved and the visible symbols of corruption.”