China bans officials from misusing public funds for tourism

China bans officials from misusing public funds for tourism
Shoppers walk in a commercial district of Shanghai on October 18, 2013.

BEIJING - China has banned officials of the ruling Communist Party from spending public funds on tourism under the guise of taking training classes, the Finance Ministry said on Friday, the latest measure in the fight against corruption.

The measure requires officials to clearly list expenses to "close entertainment and tourism loopholes" and bans the booking of "upscale hotel suites".

A further provision bans the "distribution of extra toiletries", without explanation, a likely reference to officials stocking up on hotel amenities.

The rules are the first to apply to domestic training programmes lasting less than three months, the statement said.

Newspapers frequently report on cases of government officials making spurious trips on the public purse, ostensibly for work, when in reality many go on holiday or engage in shopping sprees abroad.

Over last year's week-long national holiday in October, officials in eastern Jiangsu province were allegedly caught spending time at rural bed-and-breakfasts on the public dime, according to state media.

Since taking over the reins of the government last March, President Xi Jinping has vowed to crack down on corruption, which he has said threatens the Communist Party's survival.

The government has gone after everything from bribery and gift-giving to lavish banquets as it seeks to assuage public anger at widespread graft and the extravagant behaviour of some officials.

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