Beijing’s next anti-graft target? Mooncakes

September 13, 2013 • World News

In this Wednesday, Sept. 11, 2013 photo, a cleaner wipes mooncake shaped advertisement decorations in a subway station in Beijing, China. The mooncake, a traditional Chinese pastry given as a gift during the Chinese mid-autumn festival, has become the unlikely latest casualty of Beijing’s anti-corruption campaign. (AP Photo/Alexander F. Yuan)

HONG KONG (AP) — Mooncakes — the hockey-puck-sized pastries Chinese give each other every year for the mid-autumn festival — were always more about tradition than delicacy: Some people don’t even like them. But in recent years, as corruption eroded confidence in government, the unscrupulous made the dense, calorific cakes even sweeter.

Luxurious boxes of mooncakes can contain far more than the traditional filling of lotus seed or red bean paste and a salted egg yolk symbolizing the moon. Some have rare ingredients such as abalone, shark fins or bird’s nest. Gift sets can even include items such as gold coins, top-notch wines, mobile phones and diamond rings.

Now, in an effort to combat bribery and extravagant spending, China’s Communist Party leadership has singled out the tradition in its austerity drive. It has banned the use of public money to buy the pastries and associated Login to read more

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