Chinese Officials "Hide Booze in Water Bottles"

By McCarton Ackerman 05/02/13

China's strict new rules about government spending lead to lavish "underground" parties.

Maotai, preferred poison of China's elite
Photo via

With new Chinese President and Communist Party boss Xi Jinping cracking down on government corruption and lavish spending, many officials have reportedly taken their activities "underground," holding secret galas and hiding liquor in water bottles. Xingping has repeatedly admonished officials for wasting public funds, saying the problem is so severe it could threaten the party's survival. But many are disregarding his commands. "In some places the use of public money for eating and drinking has switched from high-end hotels to private venues and places of business... which has become known as 'low-key luxury,'" Chinese newspaper People's Daily reports. There have been reported incidents of maotai, an expensive spirit traditionally drunk at banquets, "being put in mineral water bottles" to disguise consumption. "These ways of pulling the wool over people's eyes is typical of not following instructions and not stopping what is banned," said the paper. Jinping has also been unsuccessful in getting officials to disclose their assets and no senior officials have been fired or prosecuted for corruption since the beginning of his presidency last March. Since becoming Communist Party boss last November, the party has given no indication it will allow the establishment of a fully independent judicial body to tackle corruption.

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McCarton Ackerman is a freelance writer and editor living in Portland, Oregon. He has been a contributor for The Fix since October 2011, writing on a wide range of topics ranging from medical marijuana in Colorado to the world's sexiest drug smugglers. Follow him on Linkedin and Twitter.