The sudden surge of scandals might actually be a good thing.
This December has been like an advent calendar of sex scandals in China. Hardly a day has gone by without the salacious details of some misguided, disgusting or straight-up stupid impropriety coming to light.
Just when you thought it couldn’t get more outrageous than a leaked sex tape intended for bribery, officials in the Chinese government went and outdid themselves.
But enough editorialising, I’ve got one word for you: twins.
Two Girls, One Cop
On December 3rd, Qi Fang, the police chief of Usu county in the western province of Xinjiang was accused of keeping twins from a dance troupe as mistresses. What’s more, he brought these girls onto the force and even promoted one to “vice-captain of special operations”. While it’s unclear what special operations the mistress performed, Qi kept both ladies in a lavish apartment using public funds. A gentleman never leaves his mistresses with the bill.
Qi has since been removed and is under investigation but the most damning finding so far is that the girls are actually 28 and 26 years old and not twins but merely sisters. Lame.
What's the Matter with Chongqing?
Chongqing might just be China’s top political scandal producing province, bringing us both the Bo Xilai incident and the Lei Zhengfu sex tape this year.
Last week, yet another Chongqing official was brought down when photos of Wu Hong, the employee of the Urban Administrative and Law Enforcement Bureau who has his hands full in the picture above, were leaked onto the internet anonymously.
How do we know he works in the Law Enforcement Bureau? Because this perv likes to keep his uniform on while groping.
Completely Fucked Up
December 3rd also saw the sacking of Sun Dejiang after a former television host, Wang Dechun, accused him of raping her in 1997, recording it, then using the recording to blackmail her into prolonging the unwanted relationship. Sun was the manager of a state-owned company and a delegate to the People’s Congress of Shuangcheng city in northeastern Heilongjiang province.
I won’t get into the awful details but bizarrely this matter only came to light because of a financial disagreement between Wang and Sun. In 2011, Wang borrowed 150,000 yuan ($24,000) from Sun in exchange for continuing the “relationship”.
Wang didn’t pay the money back and on November 14th of this year, Sun threatened to sue her. On November 23rd, the same day that fatty Chongqing creepster Lei Zhengfu was sacked for his sex tape, Wang posted the details of Sun’s coercion on Weibo.
Even after all this, Wang seems ambivalent about blowing the whistle.
“I would never put myself in the spotlight like this unless I was forced to,” she said.
He’s no Brigham Young, but Shanxi province Xiaodian district legislator Li Junwen managed to collect four wives and ten children before getting busted on December 5th.
In a country where a person is only allowed one of each, that’s not a bad haul. Of course, he had help. Fourteen others were implicated in Li’s polygamist shenanigans for looking the other way or arranging papers for his surplus children.
IOU: One Divorce
December 20th is the deadline for Shan Zengde, vice head of Shandong province’s Agricultural Department, to divorce his wife, according to a handwritten note to his mistress that was leaked online.
Shan apparently promised his mistress, Su Chunyuan, on November 21th that he’d divorce his wife within a month, then marry Su. Shan signed and even put his fingerprint on the document. Shi Fang, a coworker, signed his name as a witness. Shan is now under investigation.
And Everything Else
Interspersed between these scandals are your usual tales of corruption. In no particular order:
Li Chuncheng, deputy party chief of Sichuan province, has been dismissed for “serious discipline violations.” (December 14th) Though official reports declined to elaborate, Li has been suspected of buying and selling official positions and using his own position to manipulate real estate deals.
Zhou Xikai, deputy chief of Shunde district’s public security bureau in Guangdong province, was put under investigation for concealing property assets of 60 million yuan ($960,000), an amount that even state media admits is “way beyond his income level.” (December 2nd) He was later cleared of wrongdoing.
Lanzhou mayor Yuan Zhanting balled so hard motherfuckers wanna investigate him for graft. (December 5th) Netizens caught him wearing at least five luxury timepieces – including a Vacheron Constantin valued at 200,000 yuan ($32,000), an Omega worth about 150,000 yuan ($24,000) and a gold Rolex – at different press events. But that’s the great thing about being an official in China – you can always say they’re knock-offs.
Lastly, and this is by no means a comprehensive list, the deputy chief of Hangzhou’s Housing Management Bureau, Zhang Xin, is under investigation for owning more than 20 houses. (December 14th) Gee, I wonder how he got those. Seriously, this guy deserves to be put away if for nothing else than being lazy and unimaginative.
Is There Hope?
Before you conclude that Chinese society is doomed, know that the sudden surge of scandals might actually be a good thing. When the status quo is that everyone is corrupt and banging mistresses but no one gets caught, having any corruption exposed and punished is an improvement.
These recent investigations and dismissals lend credence to Xi Jinping’s promise to rein in corruption but the question remains: Who will replace these ousted officials? And what will their sex scandals look like?
Rampant corruption is the symptom of an unchecked system that runs on patronage and largely tolerates the abuse of power. Unless this entrenched kleptocracy changes, the best we can hope for is that officials will be more careful and less ostentatious about their indiscretions in the future. Maybe buy two luxury watches instead of five or keep the number of houses you own to single digits.
The sex, graft and embezzlement won’t stop until the system is reformed. Or until men stop wanting money and sex, whichever comes first.