Chinese President Xi Jinping presided Thursday over the criticism sessions, which some said is typical of the new president's attempt to revive Mao Zedong-era slogans and tactics, the Los Angeles Times reported.
"Criticisms and self-criticisms should be put in a significant position. Party members and officials should be taught to look in the mirror, straighten their attire, take a bath and seek remedies," Xi said during a trip to Hebei province in July during which he called on local leaders to listen to people's opinions, the official Chinese news agency Xinhua reported.
During the session, Ai Wenli, Hebei's propaganda chief, criticized the province for spending $500,000 on entertainers at a Chinese New Year's gala.
"That was a big waste of money," Ai said. "Our banquets were excessive. There was too much eating and drinking."
Communist Party Secretary Sun Ruibin said the province spent too much on cars, and he knew his sport-utility vehicle was extravagant but he enjoyed riding in it too much.
Critics said politicians never exposed deeper flaws during these sessions, like "putting their children on the payroll, trading power for money or keeping mistresses," one blogger said.