And Finally

Basic instincts

Public irked by fresh news of official misconduct

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Not in Xi’s good books: Hengyang

The “beauty trap” is one of the 36 stratagems in Sun Tzu’s The Art of War. The tactic involves sending beautiful women into an enemy’s camp to sow discord. But versions of Sun Tzu’s playbook live on in the present day. We reported last year how a Chongqing businessman had won lucrative construction deals in the city by filming bureaucrats having sex and then blackmailing his prey (see WiC180). Zhao Hongxia, the seducer of six of the hapless officials, was even dubbed an anti-corruption heroine by netizens.

Last week another “gang of six” was revealed to have been caught in a similar honeypot. Six officials in Hunan’s Hengyang city were fired from office and expelled from the Party because of a sex scandal, Xinhua has reported.

According to the news agency, the bureaucrats were “seduced into having sex” with two girls hired by a criminal gang. Their intimate moments – a series of them from May to November 2010 – were filmed with pinhole cameras. The tapes were then used by the gangsters for blackmail.

Entirely predictably, the revelations fomented a furious round of discussion on social media. “Being seduced into having sex” became one of the most common search phrases on Sina Weibo. “It’s the new term of 2014,” one netizen wrote. “Why are our officials’ intelligence quotients so low?” scoffed another.

In fact, Hengyang already has a reputation for naughtiness, after becoming embroiled in the biggest bribery case involving a legislative body. The central discipline watchdog said late last year that its inspectors had investigated hundreds of Party members and government officials suspected of electoral fraud in the city. The preliminary probes showed that 56 local lawmakers had managed to get elected by offering Rmb110 million ($18 million) in bribes to 500 fellow legislators. The cash-for-votes scandal forced the resignations of almost the entirety of the People’s Congress in Hengyang.

According to Caijing magazine, President Xi Jinping was so angry at the scale of the fraud that he asked repeatedly – six times, in fact – at an internal meeting: “Where are all the Communist Party members?” (“On their way to the bank” would have been the bravest riposte.)

Adding to the Party’s tarnished image, the Chinese media has also been stirring up older dirt by revisiting an infamous scandal in 2010 when a CNPC official was found taking sex bribes from porn stars from Japan.

The official in question, the 21CN Business Herald alleges, was Li Dongsheng, a senior official at CNPC’s Sichuan branch, who was recently placed under investigation on corruption charges.

Thankfully some senior bureaucrats are rekindling the spirit of Sun Tzu. And one new code of conduct drawn up for officials in the city of Shenyang has been telling Party members to hold themselves to a “higher ethical code” than the rank-and-file.

In particular, they are being told to stop watching ‘adult’ videos…

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