China warns again of dark side of the mooncakes

by Reuters
Friday, 5 September 2014 05:04 GMT

Consumers look at mooncakes in a shopping mall in Shanghai September 11, 2013. With more calories than a Big Mac, mooncakes are traditionally given as gifts to family, friends and employees during China's Mid-Autumn Festival. REUTERS/Aly Song

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China's drive against graft is hitting sales of mooncakes, a popular gift over the mid-Autumn Festival for smoothing business ties

SHANGHAI, Sept 5 (Reuters) - China's crackdown on corruption, a scourge Communist Party leaders fear threatens their hold on power, is likely to last at least another five years, an official said, warning also against the mid-autumn tradition of handing out mooncakes as gifts.

Wang Qishan, secretary of China's anti-corruption watchdog, was quoted as saying the government's "campaign against extravagance and corruption" would continue for at least five years, the official China Daily said.

Wang's comments, also reported on television on Thursday, were made in August at a meeting in Beijing.

President Xi Jinping has promised to go after "tigers and flies" in rooting out rampant graft, a campaign that has brought down politicians and company executives in industries including oil, cars and healthcare.

The campaign has also dragged down sales of high-end products from the fiery sorghum-based liquor, baijiu, to mooncakes, both traditional popular gifts for smoothing business and official ties.

Wang criticized the tradition of giving mooncakes as presents around the Mid-Autumn Festival, adding that the practice created opportunities for graft, the China Daily said.

Mooncake sales have taken a steep hit ahead of this month's festival. In key production regions, sales were half the level of last year, the China Daily said, citing the Wuchuan Association of Mooncakes.

(Reporting by Adam Jourdan; Editing by Nick Macfie)

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