Tiananmen Square makeover meets complaints over price
AFPBEIJING--A giant vase installed in Beijing's Tiananmen Square ahead of a national holiday has met with scathing criticism from Chinese Internet users after a newspaper revealed its cost on Sunday.
September 30, 2013, 12:05 am TWN
An enormous psychedelic-looking red pot topped with huge fake flowers and imitation peaches was installed this week on the square, the symbolic center of the Chinese state.
But it came at a cost of more than 570,000 yuan (US$93,000) up 8,000 yuan from the previous two years, according to the state-run Beijing Youth Daily.
The cost prompted critical comments among Chinese Internet users — even though the report said that the overall number of flowers used around Beijing for China's National Day had halved.
“Who permitted spending taxpayer's money in this way?” one user of Sina Weibo, a Chinese equivalent of Twitter, wrote.
Another user wrote: “570,000! That money could be put to much better use.”
The report said that some money-saving measures including the use of 800,000 small flower pots in the square itself, compared to 1,000,000 last year, had been introduced.
General Secretary of the Chinese Communist Party Xi Jinping has touted a campaign to reduce government waste, introducing a ban on new government buildings and guidelines for banquets, after reports of corrupt officials indulging in wasteful lunches and unnecessary building projects.
A county in eastern China built a giant copper sculpture of a puffer fish at a cost of around 70 million yuan, reports said this week, arousing angry comments about government extravagance.
Tiananmen Square usually gets a makeover ahead of China's National Day which falls on Oct. 1, and is a platform for the ruling Communist Party to showcase its achievements and drum up nationalist sentiment.