A move by certain local governments to ban employees from drinking alcohol in their free time has been met with controversy in China. Governments in Qingcheng, Nanyang and Nanjing have all taken steps to to curb the drinking habits of civil servants, even after work.
According to state media the Global Times, Nanyang, in central Henan Province, banned public service personnel from drinking alcohol in June, threatening that random tests would be carried out to ensure the rules are followed. Nanjing in eastern Jiangsu province, meanwhile, now requires police officers to have after work drinking for public and private events approved in advance. Events for which drinking may be approved include business banquets, weddings and funerals.
The existence of such strict policies have only come to light in the past few days, however, since news about drinking restrictions in Qingcheng, in northwest Gansu province, made it onto Chinese social media and subsequently into the international press. Chinese micro-blogging site Sina Weibo was alive with comments on the matter last week, with some netizens supporting the move to curb the bad habits of government officials, who have long been renowned for hosting extravagant and boozy banquets.
Colleagues often encourage each other to drink to excess, while the giving and drinking of expensive alcohol can also serve as a form of bribery. Restricting alcohol at government functions will also help cut public costs, supporters commented.
Others, however, claim the rules go too far and that employees should be allowed to spend their free time as they see fit, as long as it does not affect their work. "As a government worker, I stay away from alcohol at all times. However, I do not think that the government should make the decision for me and make it a written rule," one Weibo user said.
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Keywords: China bans government employees from drinking
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