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President Xi’s efforts to eradicate corruption will reduce the number of Chinese civil servants

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A recent study has found that the body mass index of Chinese government employees has fallen markedly as Chinese leader Xi Jinping launches a broad anti-corruption campaign that is a cornerstone of his domestic policy.

The findings point to an unexpected link between anti-corruption campaigns and positive health outcomes, indicating broader implications beyond the campaign’s core objectives.

Government officials and local officials have not escaped the anti-corruption web, which Xi famously referred to as the “tiger and the fly,” and which observers say is also being used to purge executives deemed disloyal. It is pointed out that Top military officials and executives of state-owned enterprises are also being targeted.

The study was conducted using a nationally representative survey in China and highlighted significant reductions in BMI and weight among government employees. Survey participants provided personal information such as income, expenses, education, and marital status.

newsweek asked the paper’s authors for comment.

President Xi attends Martyr's Day ceremony in Beijing
Chinese leader Xi Jinping attends a ceremony to commemorate the 10th Martyrs’ Day, the day after National Day, at Tiananmen Square in Beijing, China, on September 30, 2023. Many of Mr. Xi’s political opponents became involved in the anti-corruption campaign early in his term.
Ken Ishii-Pu/Getty Images

China’s wine and food culture has long been central to establishing business and political networks.

“These banquets usually feature very expensive dishes that are rich in calories and protein. [e.g., abalone, shark fin and sea cucumbers] Not just high-quality baijiu [grain alcohol]play a critical role in establishing connections and oiling the wheels of power,” the researchers said.

This dining culture also includes entrepreneurs inviting officials to banquets in exchange for favorable treatment.

According to the White Paper on Public Employee Health, more than 40% of civil servants were overweight or obese in 2009, but this was just four years before the anti-corruption crackdown, the authors noted.

Conditions related to excessive diet and alcohol consumption, such as high blood pressure, fatty liver, and high blood sugar, are more prevalent among white-collar workers, with a 2012 survey showing that more than two-thirds of civil servants suffered from at least two of these conditions. Conditions in which you are found to be suffering from a health condition.

“Furthermore, interestingly, the higher the official’s bureaucratic status, the more
and worsen health outcomes,” the authors said.

By 2018, the last year covered, the number of overweight public servants had decreased by 11.6 percent. Additionally, states under intense surveillance during the crackdown saw greater overall declines in BMI.

The researchers attributed the decrease in BMI to eating out less frequently, consuming alcohol less frequently, and spending more time exercising.

The survey was conducted among 42,590 individuals and 14,798 households. Researchers followed up on respondents every two years from 2010 to 2020. The 2020 survey was excluded from the survey due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The study, written by researchers from Wuhan University, Renmin University of China, and Nankai University’s School of Economics, was published in February and updated on November 27.

The Chinese Communist Party, which handed Mr. Xi an unprecedented third five-year term this year, investigated nearly 5 million of the party’s 96 million members over the past 10 years and formally filed criminal charges against 553 at the end of last year. It was announced that.

The latest phase of the anti-corruption campaign saw the arrest of scores of officials from the Rocket Force, which oversees the country’s nuclear arsenal, and the People’s Liberation Army agency, which handles logistics and procurement.

Observers say corruption in these sectors affects the quality of military equipment and gradually undermines combat readiness.

The most high-profile targets in this series of investigations are the former defense and foreign ministers, both of whom have been in office for less than a year, as well as military and political leaders of the Rocket Force. All four suddenly disappeared from public view during the summer.