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China’s public servants face austere Lunar New Year

China's public servants are in no mood to be festive this lunar new year. They dare not take bribes, but that is just the half of it.

Plenty of the more innocent perks of the season have also been taken away: no more taxpayer-funded office feasts or galas; no more lavish new year raffles.

(Read more: Don't beton China's luxury spenders: Goldman)

Even the most insignificant treats of the season – from fruit baskets to sunflower seeds, calendars to cooking oil – have been taken away in the name of the new leaner, cleaner, more abstemious China.

Lunar new year has been the high point of work life in China for decades. But last year, many government departments and state-owned enterprises cancelled their traditional year end office parties after a flurry of austerity edicts from Beijing. This year, they are taking frugality even further.

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