Official out over expense scandal

Updated: 2013-07-31 07:38

By China Daily (China Daily)

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Official out over expense scandal

The head of a national education institute is reported to have resigned under pressure after media reports that he broke rules on expenses for foreign travel and unfairly gained research funding for himself and his wife.

Yuan Zhenguo, president of the National Institute of Education Sciences, tendered his resignation to the Ministry of Education, according to a report in China Youth Daily on Tuesday.

The newspaper quoted anonymous sources who attended a staff meeting at the institute on Monday, where the ministry's leadership announced they had accepted Yuan's resignation.

The sources said Yuan resigned because he violated the rules for officials regarding travel abroad at public expense.

China Daily tried to contact Yuan on Tuesday for comment on his resignation, but he could not be reached.

An official with the ministry's media office, who declined to be named, would not give further details on the case, saying simply: "Yuan resigned and the ministry accepted. That's it."

According to the report in China Youth Daily on Tuesday, Hao Ping, vice-minister of education, said at the meeting with the institute that there were various problems with the body's leadership, and that the ministry was dealing with them.

He said that restructuring and improving the management system was a priority in the reform of the institute.

Yuan has faced criticism in the media on several occasions recently.

A report in China Youth Daily on June 27 accused him of "winning the bidding" for key national research projects for himself and his wife, a professor at the University of International Business and Economics. Winning the bids meant that the couple would both receive publicly funded research grants.

On July 17, the Beijing News alleged that Yuan traveled to Argentina and Brazil at public expense in December 2011 with his wife. According to the news report, Yuan spent 10 days on the trip but only 10 hours on official business.

A follow-up report in the Beijing News on July 18 revealed details of Yuan's expenses during a trip to Chengdu, Sichuan province, in April. Receipts from the trip showed Yuan spent 9,952 yuan ($1,600) on meals and 3,864 yuan on accommodation during his two-day trip, far more than the amount allowed on official trips.

Yuan is just one of several public officials facing criticism in the media of late.

On Dec 6 last year, Liu Tienan, deputy head of the National Development and Reform Commission, China's top economic planning body, was accused of multiple offenses, including bank loan fraud and the fabrication of academic qualifications. The allegations were made by the deputy editor-in-chief of Caijing, a popular investigative magazine.

After the allegations were published, Liu faced an official investigation and was dismissed from his post on May 14.

On July 17 this year, a journalist with Economic Information, a newspaper belonging to the Xinhua News Agency, accused Song Lin, chairman of China Resources, of corruption and wrongdoing that caused the loss of billions of yuan in State-owned assets.

(China Daily 07/31/2013 page5)