Tuesday, April 28, 2015   

Cultural hob-nobbing off limits for cadres
(10 mins ago)

First went the fancy banquets, then the lavish gift-giving. Now, China's ruling Communist Party has set its sights on a new target in its anti-corruption drive: art and literary prizes.
China's proliferation of cultural awards has raised alarm among the party's much-feared anti-corruption investigators, who worry that government officials are using them as a means of improving their clout, according to Xinhua.
At a meeting yesterday in Changsha culture ministry officials vowed to “strictly prohibit the obtaining of illegitimate benefits in the name of art,’’ Xinhua reported.
Changsha is the capital of Hunan, Mao Zedong's home province.
“The ministry of culture will carry out a comprehensive rectification of literary and art awards,'' Xinhua said. “A number of awards will be cancelled or streamlined, with an overall reduction of more than 60 percent.''
“Literature and art awards programs during festivals will be canceled, and criticism will be strengthened,'' it added, saying the ministry will “guard against and eliminate all kinds of unhealthy tendencies.’’
In January, the party's internal Central Commission for Discipline Inspection urged officials not to seek senior positions in provincial art and calligraphy associations, warning that cadres that do so are “stealing the meat off artists' plates.’’
“In some places, you will see dozens of vice presidents sitting atop the provincial calligraphy association,'' the CCDI wrote in a notice at the time.
“What kind of behind-the-scenes profit is motivating officials to use their authority to grab literary laurels?''—AFP

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