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Adviser criticizes 5-star inn conference

IT was a small gesture, but with the global financial crisis rippling into China, Gao Deliang's refusal to accept luxury accommodation while attending a political event has struck a chord throughout the country.

A group of more than 20 political advisers in south China's Guangzhou City discussed yesterday whether lodging at a five-star hotel was necessary during their ongoing annual session.

The discussion was sparked after Gao, a restaurant owner and member of the Guangzhou Municipal Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, refused to stay in the Baiyun International Convention Center during the session that began last Sunday.

"We can drive home in half an hour. Many rooms in the hotel were left vacant, the food was discarded. What a waste it is," Gao said in the group discussion.

The Guangzhou government is spending 250 yuan (US$37) for accommodation and 200 yuan for food for each of the session's 600 political advisers daily, Gao said.

A document from the city government said 6.5 million yuan was set aside for the four-and-a-half-day political advisory meeting and 7 million yuan for a five-day legislative meeting. Gao proposed political advisers not stay overnight at the hotel before their meeting, but the proposal was turned down.

Liu Weijia, a Guangzhou political adviser, said not every adviser owned a car and it was time-consuming to take buses to the meeting. Liu and another adviser named Yang Haoyi suggested the organizers not provide accommodation for all, but only for those in need.

Some other advisers said the five-star hotel was too luxurious for the meeting. They suggested future meetings could be held in a less-expensive hotel in the downtown.

Gao's stand has been endorsed by the public and the official media, in an environment where proposals for such abstinence are rare.

A commentary in Procuratorial Daily on Tuesday said: "Gao honors his duty as a political adviser ... His move is profound in meaning."

It added "the government has a lot to do in cutting spending."

Commentator Hu Wei wrote on, the official Website of the Supreme People's Court: "A public criticism like Gao's is rarely heard."


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