CHINA> Profiles
Official sacked for overseas trip
By Qiu Quanlin (China Daily)
Updated: 2009-02-24 08:56

GUANGZHOU: A deputy Party chief of a district in Guangdong province has been sacked from his post in the wake of the online exposure of a 14-day overseas group trip at public expense, a local disciplinary authority said Monday.

Tan Rigui, deputy Party secretary of Duanzhou district of Zhaoqing city in the southern province, led the group consisting of 13 district officials to Africa and the Middle East between February and March 2007, the Zhaoqing disciplinary inspection committee said on its website.

The committee has asked all members of the tour group to accept responsibility and repay the cost, estimated at more than 450,000 yuan ($65,800).

News of the trip was made public last week when a citizen from Luoding in Guangdong posted a 17-minute video on the Internet.

The citizen was said to have worked in a TV station in Duanzhou before April 2007, according to the Southern Metropolis Daily.

According to an initial investigation by the Zhaoqing disciplinary authority, the 13 officials spent most of their time visiting famous scenic spots, watching shows and buying luxury goods such as African diamonds.

The group reportedly ended its trip after visiting the Burj Al-Arab Hotel, which bills itself as the world's only seven-star hotel, based in Dubai of the United Arab Emirates, and flew back to Hong Kong March 13, 2007.

Besides Tan, officials involved in the trip included district heads of disciplinary, publicity, finance, court, foreign trade and economic departments, according to the investigation.

China Daily asked for comments from the district government, but calls to the Zhaoqing publicity chief went unanswered Monday.

The case was exposed after four leaders of a group of 23 officials from Zhejiang province were punished last December for spending a "business" trip to the United States visiting tourist attractions.

The Zhejiang group allegedly spent 650,000 yuan, with officials spending most of their time shopping and visiting spots such as Niagara Falls, Hawaiian beaches and the Las Vegas strip.

Last November, three officials from Xinyu, Jiangxi province, lost their posts for organizing an officials group to Canada, spending nearly 330,000 yuan.