Four officials in east China's Zhejiang Province were punished on Thursday for a lavish study tour to the United States early this year.
The four, all officials in Wenzhou City, were given either a serious warning or a warning, both punishments inside the Communist Party of China, according to the Wenzhou City Party committee.
They included Yu Xuemin, a city official in charge of education, and three others who were leading members of the 23-member tour group.
An investigation by Wenzhou City disciplinary authorities showed the group's study time was much less than the approved schedule while the number of cities they visited was much higher than planned.
The lavish study tour was exposed on an Internet bulletin board last week and became a hot topic among netizens. The author claimed to have found a bag containing documents and receipts related to the trip on Nov. 26. The bag was believed to have been accidentally left by a travel agent on a subway in Shanghai.
According to posted photos of the documents, the 23 officials spent nearly 650,000 yuan (94,000 U.S. dollars) on a 21-day trip in February and March. Only five days were used for administrative management training. They visited nearly 10 big cities, including Las Vegas and Los Angeles.
The Wenzhou City Party committee also ordered the tour members to pay for unapproved expenditures.