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Public funds used to purchase gym cards for officials

A CITY in eastern China has stopped the use of a fitness card as a local sports administration was found using a public lottery fund to buy the cards for government officials.

The Sports Bureau of Huainan City in Anhui Province was required to halt the circulation and use of the cards at once after they were purchased with part of the city's sports lottery fund and given out among some officials above department levels, China News Service reported yesterday.

The card, which was used at a gym under the sports bureau, was sold for 2,580 yuan (US$377) each to the public. But the bureau bought the card at a discounted price of 500 yuan each, the report said.

As of last Friday, the bureau had given out 586 cards, including 100 to its employees. Among the cards, 266 had already been activated, the report added.

The city government became aware of the card purchases after the bureau sent an application asking for permission to use the fund money, the report said.

Similar practices have been exposed in recent months.

In one case, senior officials in Shenzhen City in south China's Guangdong Province have permission to use public funds for massages, according to a post on the Website of the city's construction bureau last month.

All department level officials in the city have an annual 4,000-yuan allowance for "recuperation services," including foot and body massages, while each division chief has an allocation of 2,100 yuan.

Shenzhen has more than 200 department level officials and about 2,500 division chiefs, which means the city has allocated more than 6.5 million yuan for its senior civil servants to spend on massages, according to a previous report.

Senior officials may also use their allowance on health care treatments, fishing trips, tennis and training courses.


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