Beijing pledged in 2008 to ban smoking in most public venues, including government offices, but enforcement has remained lax and no-smoking signs are frequently ignored.
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"The phenomenon of smoking in public places remains prevalent, especially for a small number of leading cadres, who not only endanger the public health and environment, but also harm the image of the Communist Party and the government," says the circular issued by the State Council, China's cabinet.
Party cadres must not buy tobacco using public funds, and those who break rules on cigarettes should be "criticised and educated about their evil influence," the circular says. Leaders at all levels should deal with rule-breakers severely, it added, without detailing specific punishments.
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