BEIJING (Reuters) - Five Chinese officials have been suspended from their jobs after they were observed sleeping or reading newspapers during a video conference on stamping out laziness at work, state media reported on Friday.

The officials, all high-level workers at tax bureaux in the northern province of Shanxi, were supposed to be participating in a meeting to push better work discipline, the official Xinhua news agency reported.

It did not say for how long they would be suspended.

The campaign is to remind officials they cannot leave their posts, play games, or "attend recreational activities" during office hours, Xinhua added.

Chinese officials frequently have to sit through long, tedious meetings and listen to turgid reports on the latest missives from Beijing on Communist theory or other dry subjects.

But sensitive to public opinion, especially stories of lazy or corrupt bureaucrats carried by massively popular microblogging sites, the government has also tried to instill a greater sense of duty into its officials.

(Reporting by Ben Blanchard)