China / Society

Guangzhou officials travel the world on the public purse

By Zheng Caixiong in Guangzhou ( Updated: 2012-11-26 22:03

A number of government departments and bureaus in Guangzhou, capital of Guangdong province, have been criticized by local residents and netizens after admitting to spending more than 52.47 million yuan ($8.36 million) on overseas trips in 2011.

In their annual financial final accounts, published online on Monday, it was revealed that a total of 5,149 government officials and civil servants used public money to visit 33 foreign countries and regions for study, official visits, investigations, exchanges, international conferences, trade fairs and contests.

But only 24 departments and units have clearly stated their overseas destinations and the reasons for their trips. Fifteen departments and units did not reveal the destinations of their overseas trips. Only one department, the Guangzhou Bureau of Supervision, had no officials who traveled overseas for work in 2011.

The United States and Britain were the major destinations for Guangzhou officials. A total of 12 departments and units said they had visited the United States, while nine departments and units traveled to Britain. The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and Canada were also popular destinations.

The city's department of foreign trade and economic co-operation, the city's educational bureau and the general office of Guangzhou city government traveled the most.

Lei Jiekai, a Guangzhou office worker, said relevant departments should be transparent in regards to their operations and explain to local residents why they have spent such a large sum of money to visit foreign countries and regions.

"Because their overseas trips were actually paid for by residents and taxpayers," Lei said.

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