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Director sacked after belly dance video goes online

A DISTRICT director in southern China has resigned after an online video clip showed a 13-member group he led on a luxury cruise to Africa and Middle East enjoying a belly dancing performance at public expense.

The disciplinary department of Zhaoqing City, Guangdong Province, asked Tan Rigui to quit his post as director of Zhaoqing's Duanzhou district, China News Service reported yesterday.

Tan was also sacked by the Communist Party of China Zhaoqing committee as its deputy Party secretary.

Members of the group, including Duanzhou's discipline director, publicity director, finance director and court president, were ordered to write self-criticisms and bear the expenses of the trip themselves while investigations continued. They may face further punishments depending on their roles in the scandal.

A task force of Zhaoqing's disciplinary authority has been instructed by the provincial authority of Guangdong to investigate the case.

The group visited South Africa, Turkey, Egypt between February and March in 2007.

The video clip uploaded online anonymously also showed they visited an ostrich park in Johannesburg and Table Mountain in Cape Town on February 27 and traveled to a seal reserve from Cape Town on a luxury liner the next day.

On March 2, a convertible SUV took them to a wildlife conservation park and Sun City in South Africa.

They went to Cairo on March 3 to buy diamonds after visiting a gold mine and diamond workshop. A roller coaster visit and dancing performances were also on the itinerary that day and the pyramids were the next day's attraction.

They then enjoyed a trip to Dubai on March 9, exploring the desert by day and enjoying a barbecue feast and belly dancing at night.

In the six months to the end of November last year, China stopped nearly 4,000 Party and government officials from joining 550 publicly funded trips.

Two officials in Jiangxi Province were sacked and another given a warning in November for visiting the United States and Canada at public expense under the guise of a study tour.


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