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China bans TV, radio ads for pricey gifts in anti-corruption push

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

BEIJING, Feb 6 (Reuters) - Chinese radio and television stations are to ban advertisements for expensive gifts such as watches, rare stamps and gold coins, the Xinhua state news agency said on Wednesday, as part of a push by the government to crack down on extravagance and waste.

Such advertisements had "publicised incorrect values and helped create a bad social ethos", the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television (SARFT) said in a release, Xinhua said.

The ban comes after repeated calls from Xi Jinping, China's president-in-waiting, for a renewed fight against graft.

Xi said in a speech on Jan. 22 that targeting the "flies", or lowly people involved in corruption, was just as important as going after the "tigers", or top officials.

"As important cultural and ideological strongholds, radio and television channels should fully exert their role of educating the people," a spokesman for SARFT told Xinhua.

Xi has warned that a failure to weed out corruption and extravagance would put the ruling Communist Party's survival in jeopardy. The party has been embarrassed by a string of corruption scandals at its highest levels.

Last October, the government banned civil servants from splurging on boozy banquets and fancy cars, and from accepting costly gifts.

Xi is due to take over as president at an annual meeting of parliament in March. (Reporting By Beijing Newsroom; Editing by Robert Birsel)

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/thomson-reuters/130205/china-bans-tv-radio-ads-pricey-gifts-anti-corruption-push