The city government of Nanyang (南阳), Henan province, is taking corruption and extravagance very seriously. The front page of the Nanyang Evening Post (南阳晚报) today proclaims in a very large headline: “Saying ‘no’ to tip of the tongue waste”. The phrase “on the tip of the tongue” sounds strange when translated directly into English, as I’ve done here, but it essentially refers to the enjoyment of a country’s food and drink culture. Any foreigner’s experience of China inevitably includes savoring the many interesting dishes of Chinese food, which are enjoyed “on the tip of the tongue.” Yet the city government of Nanyang has declared war on the inherent waste and extravagance of “tip of the tongue” enjoyment. As the newspaper explains in a somber fashion today, the disciplinary inspection committee in the city yesterday launched a special new operation to “strictly investigate the use of public funds for eating and drinking”.
And these are not merely empty words, because the newspaper recounts that teams were dispatched to hotels to winkle out those gorging themselves at the public’s behest. To spice things up even more, at the very top of the article, city residents are called upon to denounce any government officials violating the rules by engaging in “eating and drinking big” (大吃大喝). Clearly, Nanyang has put its money where its mouth is.
The new operation in the city has a catchy motto: “Investigate all incidents” (发现一起，查处一起). To rid Nanyang of the evils of big eating and drinking, the officials carrying out the operation have been afforded all the necessary tools:
- Open enquiries as well as secret investigations (明察暗访)
- Random inspections of hotels
- New rules for hotels and restaurants to prevent misdeeds
The head of the operation explained that his team will not rest until frugality is achieved and waste and extravagance are totally obliterated. His job will only be done when a diligent and thrifty (勤俭节约) culture and healthy environment reign supreme in Nanyang. He called on the public to assist his team in denouncing any officials who dare to use public vehicles for their own private use and any behavior that reeks of eating and drinking big. Should you yourself thus be passing through Nanyang anytime soon and you notice any officials gorging on some hairy crabs, phone this number: 0377-63398128. You won’t be sorry – these guys clearly don’t muck about.
So how is the operation going so far? Its still early days but clearly dining out in Nanyang is not so much fun anymore. Yesterday a detachment of enforcers was sent out to a number of hotels in Nanyang on a sudden investigation (突击检查). A journalist from Nanyang Evening News was on the scene. As the inspection progressed at the various locations, the journalist noticed that wherever they went, customers seemed to be melting away. In large dining halls only a few tables were occupied. At a restaurant in one of the hotels that were inspected, a waiter lamented wistfully that the good times of eating and drinking big are gone:
Business has been extremely light recently, we have half as many customers as we had before. The most obvious thing is that in previous years around this time we would have many companies coming for communal meals, and we’d do pretty good. But this year, we haven’t even had one such gathering here.
Links and sources
Nanyang Evening News (南阳晚报): 拒绝“舌尖上的浪费”堵住公款吃喝者的嘴