CHINA has banned cadres from taking overseas sight-seeing freebies at state expense in another move to establish a clean government. The Communist Party Central Committee and the State Council issued an edict banning overseas trips for ''general-purpose study'' or without a definite official reason, Xinhua (the New China News Agency) reported yesterday. The circular said there had been an increasing number of junkets organised by the party, the Government, enterprises and social organisations in the past year. Such trips were claimed to cover ''inspection, learning, exchanges, training, trade and sales promotion'', it said. ''They are in fact travels at official expense. It has become more rampant,'' the document said. Xinhua claimed the malpractices depleted the country's foreign reserve, seriously damaged the reputation of the party and the Government and were a bad influence on the people. ''Discipline inspection and supervision departments at all levels must strictly investigate and handle cases involving tours abroad at government expense, especially those including leading officials,'' it said. The circular urged the relevant authorities to be strict in approving financing for official visits to other countries, and barred travel agents from handling matters relating to government-funded, sight-seeing tours. Agents for the official visits should fix a standard rate and not reap benefits from the tours and receive commission from government bodies, it added. The latest move came after the authorities published details of official guidelines governing the campaign on Friday. On Sunday, the Government and party ordered an end to fees being charged for what should be public services - such as police charging victims to investigate crimes. The exorbitant charges imposed by the authorities had also adversely affected the confidence of foreign investors, the Hong Kong China News Agency said yesterday. It revealed that a group of Taiwanese businessmen had complained about illicit fees being imposed by some regions, saying the malpractices increased their investment cost and adversely affected their confidence. One Taiwanese businessman in Shenzhen said that for every 100 yuan (HK$134) of investment, they had to pay another 25 yuan in illicit charges for such as road repairs and advertisement sponsorship. China has stepped up a nationwide crackdown against corruption and malpractices by cadres. The China Daily yesterday reported that the party head of Changchun city had ordered a ban on the personal use of official cars, following complaints by pupils that up to 140 state cars often crowded the entrances to some primary schools. Students in the northeastern city claimed scores of government and Communist Party cars carrying cadres' children obstructed the gates to their schools every morning, it said. ''Offending officials are criticised and punished by concerned disciplinary departments,'' the China Daily said. ''Some schools in the city have issued public announcements reiterating that any student who rides to school in an official car will be criticised.''