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Shanghai NYE: As People Were Dying, Local Officials Feasted

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From NetEase:

During the Shanghai Trampling Incident, Some Huangpu District Government Leaders Were Nearby Having a Lavish Feast

That the details of “government leaders/officials having lavish feast” can be exposed is not without relevance to the Bund Trampling Incident. Although there is no obvious connection between the two, their shared time and place makes it easy for people to interpret them “as a package” [conflate the two].

New Year’s Eve on the Bund was when lives were trampled and lost. Recently, the media has been restoring the truth of what happened in this tragedy, with one “inconspicuous” detail attracting the public’s attention: On the night of the Bund festivities, some Huangpu district government leaders/officials happened to be dining at a high-end restaurant nearby, the Kongchan Japanese Restaurant. This restaurant only has four dining rooms, and only three levels of meals: 1888 yuan [RMB] per person, 2888 yuan per person, or 3888 yuan per person [300, 470, or 630 USD]. There is no a la carte.

That these details could get netizens’ attention in a report with over a thousand words is only because of a few “highlights”: First, on the night of the incident, some local government officials were near the scene of festivities having a luxurious feast. How luxurious? Just look at the prices, where even the lowest is 1888 yuan. Second, this high-end restaurant is also a Huangpu district state-invested company, so the district’s officials can directly expense their dining there.

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Under the current “Eight Regulations” of strict conduct, it is difficult for the officials involved who gathering together to feast to escape people’s misgivings: Just who exactly is footing the bill? If it is them individually, then perhaps there is nothing to blame, but in light of the extremely high prices and the nature of the restaurant, according to common sense conjecture, it may very likely be public funds paying the bill. If indeed that is the case, this is nothing other than brazenly violating the law.

Moreover, the main party controlling this luxurious restaurant named “Kongchan” is the district’s State Asset Supervision and Administration Commission, and yet they allow the government officials to expense it, making it perhaps no different from the cafeterias of certain employers, in the grey area of using public funds to wine and dine. Under such a situation, the relevant disciplinary inspection commission and supervisory/regulatory departments should immediately investigate just who participated in the lavish feast and whether or not public funds were used.

Going back, that the details of “government leaders/officials having lavish feast” can be exposed is not without relevance to the Bund Trampling Incident. Although there is no obvious connection between the two, their shared time and place makes it easy for people to interpret them “as a package”. While problems built up and culminated in what happened on the Bund, a number of the government leaders responsible for the district were having a lavish feast. When one considers how the inadequacy of safety considerations and lack of preventative measures were also causes of the tragedy, it is difficult to avoid people “comparing/conflating the two”: Could the disaster possibly have been related to “the people being packed together, while they were instead feasting” and a lack of responsibility?

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This speculation may be a bit far-fetched logically but it does not influence public opinion being “resentful”. After all, there having been careless mistakes in governance leading up to the crisis [trampling] is a fact, and multiple government leaders eating a lavish feast that night is also a fact. Together, they point to a breach of responsibility/dereliction of duty.

Public opinion being angry is understandable, but it should be understood that regardless of whether or not the trampling tragedy occurred, if the government leaders involved used public funds to feast, the local State Asset Supervision and Administration Commission has a luxurious restaurant, and as long there were regulation violations, they should all be lawfully held accountable. The reason for the Bund trampling incident should be investigated, and whether or not Huangpu district government leaders had ignored public safety issues, and brazenly violated regulations in having a lavish feast, should likewise be investigated, in order to give the public a proper resolution.

She Zongming (media worker)

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Comments from NetEase:

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精品土鸡配送 [网易重庆市手机网友]:

Strictly investigate the diners, it was surely using public funds for wining and dining, because who would spend their own money to go eat [at that price].

白头发的hkdg [网易北京市手机网友]:

The nice things [benefits, privileges, perks] specially provided to government leaders already far exceeds what the ordinary rabble can imagine. I can’t even imagine what you eat for 3888. [These] government leaders are cruel!”

网易天津市手机网友 ip:123.150.*.* (responding to above)

3888 yuan a person. Remember, that’s per person, not the price per table.

网易河南省平顶山市手机网友 ip:115.58.*.*

I support the central government’s anti-corruption efforts!

网易江苏省手机网友 ip:183.207.*.*

The Beijing News [the paper this editorial is originally from], well done/said.

网易上海市网友 ip:101.228.*.*

No comment.

艹太累了 [网易湖南省邵阳市手机网友]:

3888 a person is like eating an ordinary commoner’s ration [of food] for an entire year.

网易山西省太原市手机网友 ip:110.178.*.*


1, it was after work, so what’s wrong with them going there to eat a meal?
2, as long as they don’t expense the price of the meal, is there a problem?
3, even if that place was high-end, where each person spends more than 1000, if they often went there to dine, then there would be a problem, but what’s wrong with them going there once to dine for the New Year?

七彩PanDa [网易广东省肇庆市手机网友]:

My monthly salary is 120,000 and even I wouldn’t go eat a meal costing over a thousand per person, much less those civil servants who claim they only make several thousand [a month] in salary?

网易湖北省武汉市手机网友 ip:113.57.*.*

A lot of government leaders in many places these days waste money like this. I have personally experienced/seen this.

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Written by Fauna

Fauna is a mysterious young Shanghainese girl who lives in the only place a Shanghainese person would ever want to live: Shanghai. In mid-2008, she started chinaSMACK to combine her hobby of browsing Chinese internet forums with her goal of improving her English. Through her tireless translation of popular Chinese internet news and phenomenon, her English has apparently gotten dramatically better. At least, reading and writing-wise. Unfortunately, she's still not confident enough to have written this bio, about herself, by herself.

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