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Official lives it up on public money

A SENIOR official of a state-owned media group in central China has been suspended from duty after he was fingered by a Netizen for visiting massage parlours and KTV clubs and paying with public money.

Xu Zheng once acted as the general manager of Liu yang Radio and TV Group in Hunan Province and the general manager of the group's broadband services arm. He was suspended last Friday after a joint task force led by the local publicity department and the auditing office filed an investigation, Guangzhou Daily reported yesterday.

A post by an anonymous Netizen published at several domestic Web portals including and the bulletin board system of search engine showed Xu spent more than 30,000 yuan (US$4,385) from the end of October to late December 2006, on massages, spas, dining at luxurious restaurants or at karaoke clubs.

Another bill posted online covered Xu's activities from the end of March to late May 2007. A total of 16,950 yuan was spent, mainly at restaurants and spa centers, with 1,712 yuan listed as paying for "other services."

In November 2006, and April and May 2007, Xu visited such venues on about 10 occasions a month, according to the details of the bills posted online.

On November 15, 2006, Xu went to a karaoke club, a foot massage center, a restaurant and enjoyed "other services" twice, at a total expense of 9,197 yuan, among which 5,918 yuan was spent on dining.

Yi Jialiang, Party secretary of Liuyang City, ordered an investigation and said charging such things to the public was intolerable.

Meanwhile, a district director in Zhaoqing City, Guangdong Province, has been sacked from his post after an online video clip showed a 13-member group he led on a luxury cruise to Africa and the Middle East enjoying a belly dancing performance at the public expense.

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

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.


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