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"Spa bath-crazy" cadre reveals a new round of official reception frenzy

A story about a grassroots-level Communist Party cadre in Inner Mongolia complaining to a Xinhua reporter that as part of the reception arrangement for the high-level officials, he once had to bathe eight times within a day in a local spa is circulating on Weibo. Even People’s Daily (@人民日报) has posted this news on its official Weibo. This cadre is sarcastically referred to as “Mr. Strong” by the Weibo fans.

(Note: Strong is the English name of a popular food brand in China, its Chinese name Xi Zhi Lang(@喜之郎果冻) written in different characters (洗之郎) could mean bath boy.)

A cartoon mocking the ugly habit of using dinner and entertainment as means of cottoning up to the power amongst the Chinese officials. Photo:

The end of year is a busy time for local governments since it is the time when the annual inspections begin. Local cadres have to receive several groups of higher-ranking officials from different departments who “came down” to check their work. The Xinhua reporter who reported about the “eight-times-a-day” cadre got the information on a research tour which took him to several grassroots-level governments in Inner Mongolia, Shaanxi, Hubei and Guangdong.

This unlucky official told the reporter that he received over a dozen groups of “guests” on that particular day, many of whom wanted to experience the local spa, which is quite famous. The result was he ended up bathing eight times that day. The last time, he didn’t even bother to get changed, and waited for the guests in the spa.

“They are all high-ranking leaders; I can’ t slight them. Warm receptions can foster better relationships.” he said helplessly.

In the same report, the reporter also mentioned that an official working at a reception office in a county-level city in Inner Mongolia had “four breakfasts” on one morning with visiting officials. He told the reporter that they have a “50 yuan” standard as part of their reception ritual. “To meet this standard, we had to overload the table with food,” he said. He also told the reporter that he was supposed to have the last breakfast with five other officials. In the end, only two managed to show up, the other three had other “guests” of themselves.

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