An eight-point regulation (in simplified Chinese 八项规定) was a document adopted in a meeting of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, the country's top-ruling body, on Tuesday, Dec 4, 2012. The document made explicit requirements on how Political Bureau members should improve their work style in eight aspects, focusing on rejecting extravagance and reducing bureaucratic visits, meetings and empty talk.
The requirements, the first detailed guidance for a new working style adopted after the election of the Political Bureau members in Nov 2012, were issued to strengthen ties between the people and officials, whose malpractice including corruption and power abuse have distanced them from ordinary citizens.
The political bureau, which has 25 members, includes the top decision-makers, such as State leaders, Party chiefs of several key provincial-level regions, ministers and top army officials.
The meeting, presided over by Xi Jinping, general secretary of the CPC Central Committee, was held less than three weeks after the 18th CPC national congress, which convened on Nov 8-14, 2012.
The CPC vowed at the keynote congress to "always work hard and practice economy." It also promised to reject the practices of extravagance, formalism and bureaucracy.
China's new leader Xi Jinping has consistently stressed the importance of more work and less talk, commentators and experts said.
Zhu Lijia, professor at the Chinese Academy of Governance, said the measures reflect Xi's consistent principles on the Party's working style.
In 2010, Xi told the CPC Central Committee Party School in a speech that there was a great deal of room for improvement in many speeches by officials, as they contained too much jargon and empty words.
He reiterated his stance in his first speech as the general-secretary of the CPC Central Committee on Nov 15, when he also addressed ending bureaucracy and pomp.
On a visit to the National Museum of China on Thursday, Xi again told officials that empty talk harms the nation, while hard work strengthens the country.
1. Leaders must keep in close contact with the grassroots. They must understand the real situation facing society through in-depth inspections at grassroots. Greater attention should be focused on places where social problems are more acute, and inspection tours must be carried out more thoroughly. Inspection tours as a mere formality should be strictly prohibited. Leaders should work and listen to the public and officials at the grassroots, and people's practical problems must be tackled. There should be no welcome banner, no red carpet, no floral arrangement or grand receptions for officials' visits.
2. Meetings and major events should be strictly regulated, and efficiency improved. Political Bureau members are not allowed to attend ribbon-cutting or cornerstone-laying ceremonies, or celebrations and seminars, unless they get approval from the CPC Central Committee. Official meetings should get shortened and be specific and to the point, with no empty and rigmarole talks.
3. The issuing of official documents should be reduced.
4. Officials' visits abroad should only be arranged when needed in terms of foreign affairs with fewer accompanying members, and on most of the occasions, there is no need for a reception by overseas Chinese people, institutions and students at the airport.
5. There should be fewer traffic controls when leaders travel by cars to avoid unnecessary inconvenience to the public.There should be fewer traffic controls arranged for the leaders' security of their trips to avoid unnecessary inconvenience to the public
6. The media must not report on stories about official events unless there is real news value. The regulations also ban worthless news reports on senior officials' work and activities and said such reports should depend on work needs, news value and social effects.
7. Leaders should not publish any works by themselves or issue any congratulatory letters unless an arrangement with the central leadership has been made. Official documents without substantial contents and realistic importance should be withheld. Publications regarding senior officials' work and activities are also restricted.
8. Leaders must practise thrift and strictly follow relevant regulations on accommodation and cars.
Analysts said although the measures target senior Party members, it also sends a strong message to society.
Zhu Lijia, professor at the Chinese Academy of Governance, said the measures address issues that the public resent the most, such as tedious meetings and frequent traffic disruption by cars transporting officials.
"The measures have set a good example. Its wording and phrasing are clear, to the point and easy to understand," he said.
Zhu said although Party officials who violate the measures will be investigated, the requirements may get better results if the State Council, China's cabinet, can adopt similar measures and make them legally valid.
Liu Shanying, a researcher on political science at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said the new measures are welcome but it will still take the supervision of media and society to help implementation.
Liu said it will not be difficult for the top leadership to carry out the new requirements. But he expressed concern about officials at the grassroots as they may have become accustomed to a certain lifestyle.
Given the profound changes that the Party, the country and the world are facing today, we should realize the utmost importance of improving work style, the People's Daily, the CPC's flagship newspaper said in a commentary on Wednesday, Dec 5, 2012.
"Improvements in the Party's work style will win people's hearts," it added.
"Fewer meetings and traffic controls for the officials mean there will be smoother traffic in cities, and less media coverage on officials will leave room for more news dedicated to public welfare," according to a commentary in the Beijing News on Wednesday.
The implementation of any aspect of the regulations will be translated into benefits for the masses, the newspaper added.
Comments went viral soon after the release of a statement that reveals the requirements.
On China's Twitter-like Sina Weibo service, netizens were upbeat about the prospect of imminent changes to China's culture of officialdom, which often features speeches of tedious jargon, expensive banquets and routine pomp.
Web user "liferecorder_lz" said these requirements are "pragmatic" and will overhaul the practices of China's officials if implemented well.
While gauging the potential effect that the regulations will have in improving relations between officials and the public as well as addressing social problems such as corruption, many Internet users took a wait-and-see attitude.
A netizen identifying himself as Zhou Wenbin said he was very excited after he read about the news, but soon regained calm because he needed to see how the leadership would carry out their new orders.
"Several of the requirements are considerably pragmatic. It can make a difference to some officials' work style if they are implemented. I hope the officials can match actions to their words," wrote an Internet user named "Leizishierniu."
Another, named "Li Zhiyong," said it was necessary to enforce public supervision and hold violators of the regulations legally responsible, in a bid to ensure they are followed.
"The key is to implement the regulations in a top-down manner," wrote web user "pingshuixiangfengji."
Authorities in Beijing have vowed to improve by reducing the number of meetings, reducing paper waste, shortening traffic control during officials' visits, and exercise frugal spending.
Head of Beijing Guo Jinlong said municipal officials will firmly carry out 15 rules, focusing on cutting official inspections. meetings and improving news reporting. The city vows to make great progress in three aspects: simplifying receptions, improving the quality of news reports, enhancing inspections and surveys to solve problems.
Shanghai has urged municipal leaders to improve research and inspection at grassroots level, cut unnecessary meetings, regulate activities related to foreign affairs, and make news reports on the local government and the Party more efficient in a bid to win the trust and support from the people.
"We must implement the new rules. If we only talk the talk, we will harvest the opposite result and incur aversion from the people," said Han Zheng, Party chief of Shanghai municipal Party committee.
The Tianjin Municipality government has ordered senior officials to make inspections for at least two months within a year to under-developed regions to learn about difficulties and try to find solutions. During inspections, receptions must be simplified and the number of escort members should be reduced.
Municipal-level officials are not allowed to attend commercial activities like expos, founding ceremonies, seminars and ribbon-cutting ceremonies.
Meetings must be simplified and shortened and banal remarks and clichés must be avoided during meetings. Telephone and video conferences are suggested.
Officials in Zhejiang province should spend more time in grassroots areas that have deep difficulties and complicated situations. Inspection tours as a mere formality should be prohibited. Random inspections are encouraged.
The number of conference should be reduced and strictly controlled. Congratulatory letters and inscriptions by provincial leaders are prohibited.
Trips abroad should be restrained and any official trips abroad without substantial work tasks should not be arranged. Official trips abroad in the name of a conference, training, or a business invitation should be prohibited.
Road blocks should be banned and people's normal work pattern should not be affected when provincial leaders make inspection trips or attend official activities.
News reports should be improved and stories on provincial leader's conferences should be cut to focus more on the people. Reporting must reflect genuine public concerns and link closely with life.
Decorations at meetings should be stopped and provincial leaders should eat in canteens.
Supervision and inspection should be improved and any violations should be strictly punished. (Informant's hotline: 12388; informant's email address: email@example.com)
Hunan province officials must go deep into the grassroots to understand people better. Inspection tours as a mere formality should be prohibited, and receptions in airports, railway stations and highway exits are prohibited under a list nine rules released in Hunan on Dec 26.
Officials also ordered the number of conferences be decreased and their scale strictly restricted. Trips unrelated to conferences are also prohibited.
The length and amount of official documents published should be cut. Official documents should attach more importance to efficiency and helpful to actually solve problems.
Any official overseas trips without substantial work plans should not be arranged. Trips in the name of conferences, training, and business invitations should be prohibited.
Road blocks should be banned and people's normal work schedule should not be affected when provincial leaders make inspection trips or attend official activities.
The number of reports on provincial leader's conferences should be cut and more focus given to the plight of the people.
Provincial leaders should not undertake any post as a chief editor or consultant of books, films or other video products.
Luxurious official cars are prohibited and domestic brands should be gradually introduced. If current official buildings meet standards, governments should not extend or build new ones.
Violations should be strictly punished.
Fujian province has ordered officials to investigate grassroots areas that have difficulties and complicated situations. Inspection tours as a mere formality should be prohibited. Random inspections are encouraged. Work receptions should be simplified.
The number and scale of conferences and official trips should be decreased. Official trips unrelated to conferences should be axed and officials should take part in less ribbon-cutting and foundation-laying ceremonies. Decorations for meetings should be banned.
Reports on provincial leader's conferences should be cut and more emphasis given to the people.
The main provincial Party leaders should not go overseas on business more than once a year and other leaders no more than once every two years.
Violations should be strictly punished.
Hubei province has ruled conferences held by provincial departments should not be more than once per year; No provincial-level meetings should be held during busy farming seasons and during flood control and drought relief periods except for special situations. Provincial leaders who assume double positions cannot attend ribbon-cutting and foundation laying ceremonies. Official documents should be no more than 3,500 Chinese characters, and inspection reports should be less than 3,500 characters.
Provincial Party leaders should not go overseas on business more than once a year and other leaders no more than once every two years.
Road blocks should be banned and people's normal work schedule should not be affected when provincial leaders make inspection trips or attend official activities.
News reports should be improved and stories on provincial leader's conferences should be cut to focus more on the people.
Officials should investigate grassroots areas that have difficulties and complicated situations. Inspection tours as a mere formality should be prohibited. Random inspections are encouraged.
Shandong's 10 rules ask local officials to deepen their understanding and research especially at grassroots level by visiting an areas for at least for two months a year.
The rules calls for a reduction of meetings especially unnecessary commemorations, symposiums and commendations. Officials attending ribbon-cutting ceremonies, foundation-laying or celebrations should be strictly controlled. .
Officials should stay in designated hotels with plain facilities. They are forbidden from accepting gifts, souvenirs, and banned from luxury meals. The police should not be used to clear roads for officials. Officials should enhance the self-discipline of their relatives and staff, strictly executing housing and vehicles rules.
In addition, news reports on local authorities should be simplified according to its news value.
Jiangxi province has urged local officials not to clear roads and sites, and be escorted by guards before and during an inspection. Officials should reduce meetings and shrink the scope. Simple working buffets are advocated instead of banquets during inspections. The rule also bans New Year visits among government institutes.
Local officials should not prepare welcome ceremonies for their visiting superiors or counterparts. Officials should not go over to their administrative area boundaries to greet their visiting superiors or their counterparts.
Jilin provincial officials pledged to actively apply the spirit of the anti-bureaucracy campaign initiated by CPC's ruling body.
Jilin officials were urged to avoid "vanity projects" but to seek real benefits for the people. Officials at all levels are required to make inspections to under-developed regions to find solutions to people's welfare problems.
Efforts shall be made to streamline news reports about meetings and activities of provincial leaders. News reports about the secretary of the provincial Party committee should be less than 1,500 words.
The province aims to enhance the understanding of the eight provisions. Improve research and investigation. Streamline meetings and events, reducing files and briefings. Strictly control visits abroad. Rigorously enforce frugal spending and reduce official receptions. Improve, standardize and simplify news reports. Strengthen the leadership and supervision.
Working meals should be a buffet in principle with no more than four varieties. Alcohol will be banned from working meals. Visits abroad should be approved by the provincial Party committee before the end of January every year and temporary visits should not be arranged.
Southwest China's Guizhou province detailed ten requirements to reject extravagance and reduce bureaucratic visits and meetings.
Provincial leaders are urged to understand the real situation facing Guizhou through in-depth inspections at grassroots levels so as to better and creatively solve the practical problems of people by working with them.
Official meetings should be shortened and unnecessary documents or speeches should not be issued. Provincial leaders are not allowed to attend ribbon-cutting or cornerstone laying ceremonies, publish books or write an inscription unless they get approval from the provincial Party committee.
Provincial officials are urged to follow a frugal lifestyle and strictly comply with the regulations on housing and vehicles. Spending on officials' trips and inspections should be kept at the minimum necessary level.
Leading officials should spend at least 60 days every year in grassroots areas with a clear theme to solve the major issues which impact reform, development and stability, and the key problems which the people reflect strongly.
All meeting should be streamlined and efficient. Various meeting and events should be controlled strictly. Meetings and important activities held under the name of the provincial Party committee need approval.
Documents and briefings should be standardized and reduced.
Visits should be strictly controlled. Trips overseas and exchanges to other provinces require approval. For trips abroad, senior officials should travel no more than once in a year. Travelling in the name of inquiry will be strictly banned.
News reports should be improved. Reports on members of the provincial Party committee should be newsworthy and be of social benefit.
Publishing manuscripts requires approvals. Official should not publish writings, send congratulatory letters, messages or inscriptions.
Police cars should not be used to clear the way for provincial Party members. Receptions should be pragmatic.
Government cars will be changed to domestic brands to set an example.
Provincial leaders should effectively improve research and go to grassroots areas for at least two months every year.
They should make great effort to solve the livelihood problems of the people. The provincial leaders should have 5 to 7 days every year living and working with people for research.
Meetings and events should be vigorously streamlined and controlled.
To greatly reduce paperwork and briefings, documents without substantial content will not be issued. Overseas trip should be strictly regulated.
Receptions should be simplified. Banners, road closures and police cars should not be used for or by officials. News coverage should be simplified and improved.
Publication of the articles of provincial officials should be strictly controlled. Provincial leaders will not send congratulatory letters, messages or inscriptions.
The provision of housing and vehicles should be strictly controlled.
A clean and honest administration must always be adhered. Provincial officials should make strict requirements of their spouses, children, relatives and staff.
Officials at all levels in the province have been ordered to study and understand the new requirements
Measures to implement investigations and receptions and meetings should be streamlined
Deploy discipline inspection and supervision departments at all levels to strengthen control.
Take measures to improve working style and enhance ties between officials and the people.
The first week of every month will have no meetings. Leading officials of the provincial Party committee and government will go to grassroots areas for a period of at least 30 days a year.
Ningxia Hui autonomous region
The Ningxia Hui autonomous region issued detailed regulations including reducing business trips, inspections, meetings and documents as well as news reports about the government.
Expenditure on trips and inspections should be cut and receptions simplified. There should be no welcome or goodbye ceremonies and dinner should be a standard office meal.
The cost of water, power and stationery in government offices should be reduced as much as possible and build an energy-conservative government.
Unnecessary meetings, documents, in-house bulletins, ceremonies are banned and those necessary are required to simplified. Telephone and video conferences are recommended.
There should be fewer traffic controls arranged for leaders during trips to avoid unnecessary inconvenience to the public, and escort vehicles are not allowed to use sirens.
News reports about government activities should be short and simple. Regional senior officials are not allowed to inscribe or send letters to commercial activities.
Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region
South China's Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region has called on officials to reject extravagance and reduce bureaucracy in five aspects so as to win the trust and support from the people.
Provincial officials should conduct more inspections in grassroots areas with fewer accompanying members. There is no need for a welcome banner, a reception by local people, a red carpet or traffic control on most occasions.
Official meetings as a mere formality should be strictly prohibited and all approved meetings should be shorted and made as efficient as possible. Unnecessary documents and briefings should not be issued and paperless offices should be promoted to cut cost.
Media reports should highlight stories relevant to people's livelihood and news reports on officials' activities should be simplified as much as possible. More efforts should be put into reporting on foreign affairs and Internet tools should be better employed to build a direct link between provincial Party leaders and the people.
Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region
Officials in Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region have been ordered to get back to reality in a list of ten rules published on Dec 25, 2012, including senior officials holding group meetings every two months to better understand people's needs. .
Standing committee member should conduct a study of grassroots areas no less than 40 days a year and reduce receptions with elaborate banners and flowers.
The number of conferences should be decreased and the quality improved. Competitions for grassroots people should be overhauled.
The number of official documents published should be restricted. Official documents repeating laws and regulations or having no substantial content should not be published.
The number of overseas trips should be restricted and restrained with welcome ceremonies during trips out of Xinjiang banned and the number of accompanying members restricted.
Reports on region leader's conferences and activities should be cut to enhance the connection between regional leaders and the people by using new technologies.
Regional leaders should not publish their own work or speeches except the Party committee's arrangements and should not take honor posts at organizations or magazines.
Waste and extravagance is prohibited. Reception meals should last no more than 45 minutes. Work units should not be treated using public funds.
Members should strictly obey the new rules about work style and living. Official cars should gradually be switched to domestic brands.
Tibet autonomous region
The Tibet autonomous region released ten rules on Dec 5, 2012 calling for a better understanding of people's needs and to reduce and simplify official receptions.
The scale and length of conferences should be strictly contained with more work conducted on telephone or video calls.
The length and amount of official documents published should be restricted. Official documents should have substantial content and attach more importance to efficiency.
Public activities unrelated to work should be strictly contained and officials should not participate in premieres, ceremonies, fairs, conferences and similar activities except by arrangement of the region's Party committee or approved by the Standing Committee.
Expenditure on official trips should be controlled and the number of accompanying people restricted. Vehicles should be used in accordance with the rules.
Road restrictions should be reduced and police should not lead motorcades, block roads or clear sites except on important occasions with approval.
Reports on region leader's conferences and activities should be cut and their own work or speeches should not be published.
Waste and extravagance are prohibited and rules on the use of official cars, office buildings, overseas trips and receptions should be strictly implemented.
The rules insist on honesty, self-discipline and calls on officials to take good custody of oneself, family members, colleagues and work.
1. (English) Expectations high after CPC vow. Xinhua. Dec 5, 2012.
2. (English) Pomp and ceremony must end. China Daily. Dec 5, 2012.
3. (Chinese) Eight-point regulation. baike.baidu.com.
4. (English) Nation bans extravagance, bureaucracy. chinadaily.com.cn. Jan 21, 2013.