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China Officials' Overseas Trips to Face Tighter Scrutiny
Update: 8/23/2008 8:56:00 AM Source: Beijing hotel


The National Bureau of Corruption Prevention said Thursday that officials' applications to make overseas trips will be subjected to tighter scrutiny to avoid the abuse of public funds.

Expenses for business trips will be restricted and pre-auditing will be carried out, according to the bureau.

Officials must take responsibility if their trips violate disciplinary codes or laws, the bureau's notice stated.

With the country widening international exchanges in recent years, some officials have taken advantage of overseas trips in order to pocket public funds.

Last August, Xu Wen'ai, vice-procurator-general of Anhui province, was removed from his post for wasting public funds on a trip to Finland.

A delegation of 10 people from the procuratorate headed by Xu was found to have fabricated an invitation from the Finnish government.

An investigation found the delegation also tampered with business travel routes, adding a number of additional destination countries.

The incident caused a nationwide outcry, with many provinces considering tighter regulations to screen officials planning overseas trips to international conferences or for study.

In order to prevent similar abuses, an inter-ministerial mechanism has been established, with its office at the bureau.

The mechanism involves the CPC Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Organization Department of the CPC Central Committee, the Ministry of Supervision, the Ministry of Finance, the National Audit Office and the State Administration of Foreign Experts Affairs.

In June, the CPC general office and the State Council general office jointly issued Regulations on Intensifying the Management of Overseas Business Trips.

The CPC Central Commission for Discipline Inspection and the Ministry of Supervision have made improved supervision of overseas trips at public expense one of their major tasks for this year.

Ren Jin, a professor with the law department of the National School of Administration, said tighter scrutiny will pay off.

"It is obvious progress if officials make more efforts to avoid such violations of discipline," Ren told China Daily.

He suggested that expenditure for officials' overseas working trips be included in government budgets.

Editor: canton fair

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