Supervise civil servants' trips

Updated: 2014-12-11 07:45

(China Daily)

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Multiple measures should be taken to monitor and supervise "official tours" of public servants, to prevent scandals such as "public funds used to pay for official's visit to inspect trash bins", says an article on xinhuanet. Excerpts:

The use of public funds for government officials' tours has dropped drastically after the central government launched its austerity and anti-corruption drives. But some officials are still using public funds for their trips, citing ridiculous excuses such as inspection of fences and trash bins, or traveling abroad to check out "foreign cows".

Although eligible to use public funds for their travel, some officials go on meaningless tours that in no way benefit their work. Former Republic of Korea prime minister Lee Soo-sung once said there was no need for Chinese officials to visit the ROK to learn from its New Countryside Movement. In fact, a local village secretary who had been to the ROK said that he had learned nothing from the business trip to the country despite the high expenditure.

Of course, there are enough reasons to use public funds to pay for some government officials' trips. But the problem is that, most of these officials visit only touristy spots instead of doing meaningful work or research. Obviously, they forget the reason for being in a foreign country or region.

Apart from launching thorough probes against suspected bungling officials and punishing the guilty, there are other things we can do to prevent the waste of public money. For example, information on official trips by civil servants should be made public in advance so that people can supervise and evaluate their activities.