CHINA> National
Stricter rules for govt trips abroad
By Wang Zhenghua (China Daily)
Updated: 2008-12-23 07:42

SHANGHAI: A public outcry has prompted Wenzhou authorities to tighten its rules on official government trips after some officials were found extending their period of stay or sightseeing while on business tours overseas.

The disciplinary department of Wenzhou said on the weekend that the quota for officials sent abroad every year on public duties will be reduced and the itineraries for the trips will be strictly scrutinized by a number of government agencies.

"Ordinary visits without a solid purpose and profitable results will be forbidden," the Metropolis Express quoted an official as having said. "Public-funded overseas tourism in the name of training should be eradicated," it added.

Wenzhou, which lies 600 km south of Shanghai, recently came under public limelight after two scandals surrounding official government trips were exposed.

In one case, a group of 23 government officials, visiting the US for a 21-day training course, were found lavishing at tourist spots in Hawaii, Las Vegas, New York and San Francisco earlier this year.

In another case, Party chief of Wenzhou's Lucheng district Yang Xianghong failed to return from a business trip to France in September, prompting wide speculation that he fled the country to escape corruption charges.

Officials responsible for both the trips were either sacked or issued warnings.

In future, any applications for business trips will be subjected to strict scrutiny and supervisors should carefully examine the detailed schedule and agenda, Wenzhou's disciplinary department said in a notice.

"Business activities should account for at least two thirds of the time spent abroad," the notice said.

"A maximum of six days is permitted for visiting one country, 10 days for two and 12 days for three," it said.

(China Daily 12/23/2008 page4)