BEIJING, March 1 (Xinhua) -- China has issued a circular Sunday "stoutly" ordering officials at all levels not to spend public money on sightseeing overseas.
The circular was jointly issued by the General Office of the State Council and the General Office of the Communist Party of China Central Committee amid a situation where many Chinese officials have been using public money to pay for their personal travel disguised as business trips.
The Chinese government hoped officials at all levels to set an example for other people to cope with the financial crisis and overcome the obstacles in economic development.
According to the circular, all overseas business trips should be arranged strictly. The expenses and number of officials for such trips should be kept as low as possible. And related departments should include all those expenses into their budget and get them approved beforehand.
Officials should not add more countries or cities to their travel schedules at will and extend their stay aboard. And they should not claim reimbursement for personal trip costs or resort to companies or inferior departments to cover their travel spending.
Xinhua reported in last December that two officials were removed from their posts in east China's Jiangxi Province for being implicated in overseas sightseeing disguised as study tours earlier in 2008.
Liu Zhongping, who was on an 11-member delegation to the United States and Canada in April, was ousted from the dual posts of Party secretary and Chief of the Office for Foreign and Overseas Chinese Affairs of Xinyu City. Also ousted was Liu Qun, a deputy of Liu Zhongping's office.
Liu's office reportedly fabricated the delegation's agenda to get approval by higher authorities, prolonged the trip against rules, and taking kickbacks while buying air tickets for officials.
China urged discipline inspection departments at all levels to tighten supervision and auditing over funds used for overseas business trips and expose and punish violators severely.