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No gifts, keep speeches short: China parliament

BEIJING -- No flowers, no banquets, no gifts, no welcoming ceremonies and more importantly no useless long-winded speeches — Chinese state media on Wednesday laid out strict instructions for this year's annual meeting of parliament.

Normally a bastion of sycophancy, as the hand-picked delegates seek to out-compete each other in lauding the Communist Party, the official Xinhua News Agency said that would change when the largely rubber stamp parliament meets in March.

Incoming president Xi Jinping has made cutting back on extravagance and waste a key theme of his first few weeks in office since becoming party chief in November, seeking to assuage anger at corruption and restore faith in the party.

“Deputies will be encouraged to focus on key issues and avoid empty talk,” Xinhua cited a government statement as saying.

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