China’s new leaders have promised a dramatic overhaul of how the Communist party behaves, responding to growing public criticism of imperious and lavishly rich officials.
Party leaders will no longer be greeted wherever they go with cheering crowds, banners, red carpets and elaborate flower displays, said a statement on Chinese state media after a meeting of the new 25-man Politburo.
The updated rules also ban dull, long speeches and fawning write-ups in the state newspapers, as the party tries to reshape its image.
In recent years, even the lowliest Communist party officials have enjoyed a fin-de-siècle lifestyle, being chauffeured around in luxury cars and greeted by crowds of well-marshalled schoolchildren.
Officials have seemed to compete with each other for who could build the biggest local government offices, offer the grandest banquets – often with specially imported delicacies or food from exclusive farms – and accumulate the most wealth.
Now, after growing criticism at the decadence and arrogance of the party, its new leaders appear determined to make a change.