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Beijing Vows to Reduce Gov't Expenditure by 10 Pct
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Beijing has vowed to reduce expenditure by government units by 10 percent this year, looking to set an example for other places to follow and to take the lead in developing a conservation-minded government.

To reach the target, the Beijing municipal government will keep a tight control on expenditure on items such as meetings, travel and transportation, according to government sources.

It will stop the construction of luxury office buildings and has ordered all government units to build no more training centers. The number of meetings and documents will be reduced.

Government units have been forbidden to compete with one another in lavishness or rash spending.

As the capital of China, Beijing has taken the lead in cutting government expenditure, which may encourage other provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities to follow suit, said Ren Yuling, a national political advisor.

"Reaching the 10 percent target is not the be-all and end-all. However, Beijing's example is of great importance," Ren said.

The administrative cost of China's governments at all levels are 25 percent more than the average level in the world, which is worrying the Chinese leadership.

It is reported that a city in central China's Hubei Province spent 15 million yuan on government cars annually, 11 million yuan more than what would have been needed if the cars had been privately owned.

Premier Wen Jiabao said last month while delivering a government work report that "one important task we are now facing is to deal with the serious problem of extravagance and waste in some government bodies."

Wen said "we will...work to reduce government overheads and build a conservation-minded government."

Beijing tightened its management of overseas travel by officials last year in a bid to reduce government overheads. The municipal government rejected 251 unnecessary overseas travel plans involving 484 officials.

(Xinhua News Agency April 4, 2007)

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