This photo, released online, shows Ji Yingnan and Fan Yue. It is believed to have been posted on Sina Weibo by Ji Yingnan. Photo: weibo.com
Sitting in her flat in Beijing, with only her dog for company, 25-year-old Ji Yingnan waited by the phone for an explanation from her former lover, Fan Yue, who had been a deputy director of the Policy and Legislation Research Department of the State Archives Administration until their affair hit the headlines.
Ji, a former host on the China Travel & Economic Channel, claimed that she had thought Fan was single and loved her.
"I had no idea he was such a liar," Ji told the Global Times. "He always promised to marry me and I always thought he would be my fiancé, or even husband."
After Fan pulled the plug on their four-year-long relationship, Ji decided to expose their affair at Fan's workplace in April, and then revealed it to the public in June.
The online tip-off attracted public attention, as many suspected that corruption was involved in the case, especially when Ji mentioned that Fan had bought her lots of luxury goods and even gave her 10,000 yuan ($1,628) every day when they moved in together at a rented house.
Later, Fan was removed from his government position, the latest in a long line of officials laid low by mistresses and anti-graft campaigns.
Ji and Fan began their relationship in 2009. Soon after that, Fan attempted to persuade Ji to leave her job and promised to find her a job at a Beijing television station so they could have a better life together.
Although those promises never came true, Fan was still quite generous when giving gifts. He bought Ji many luxury products and wined and dined her in expensive restaurants.
"I did wonder how he earned the money without violating any regulations, such as taking advantage of his authority. However, because I loved him so much, I chose to trust him when he told me the money was borrowed from his friends or earned from other business," Ji said.
When the relationship came crashing down, Ji decided to report Fan to the authorities in case he had been involved in corruption, however she never received any reply.
Fan has denied reports in the Beijing Times that indicated that he gave Ji 10,000 yuan every day. Fan has stated that the information on the Internet was incorrect, and that he is planning a lawsuit against Ji.
After Fan's denials, Ji posted a video Saturday on her real-name Weibo account, which showed how the official had proposed to her. The clip was dated June 4, 2011.
"On the two-year anniversary marking our first meeting, I hope you can marry me with all our friends as witnesses," Fan said in the video.
Fan refused to take calls on this issue when phoned by the Global Times on Monday.
Ji claimed she was not trying to end Fan's career by revealing the details of their private life. "I just want to make him know that he made a mistake by ruining my life and he needs to pay for that."
A common weakness
According to a statement published Wednesday on the administration's website, Fan has been removed from his position and resigned from the administration on June 6.
The administration also claimed that they would keep investigating Fan's case to find out whether corruption or other illegal activities were involved.
Fan is far from the first official to be targeted by a jilted mistress. Earlier this year, Yi Junqing, former director of the Central Compilation and Translation Bureau under the CPC Central Committee, was dismissed from his position after his extramarital relationship was exposed by his mistress via a diary.
On Wednesday, Lei Zhengfu, former Party chief of Chongqing's Beibei district, stood on trial for taking bribes. The investigation into this case was triggered by a journalist who exposed a sex tape featuring Lei and his mistress, who had allegedly been hired to amass blackmail material on officials.
Tang Jun, director of the Crisis Management Research Center at the Renmin University of China, found that 95 percent of corrupt officials caught in 2012 had mistresses, the Beijing-based news website, china.org.cn, reported in January.
Officials represent the country's image, authority and the government, which require them to act decently not only in their work but also in their personal life, said Xu Xianglin, professor of the School of Government with Peking University. "Any love affairs of government officials are easily associated with their powerful positions. In that case, they should be disciplined not only by social norms and laws, but also strict administrative orders and punishment from the Party," Xu told the Global Times.
Illegal or just immoral?
"If the love affairs of officials weren't connected with bribery or other economic crimes, the officials will only receive administrative punishments for their immoral activities," Yun Jie, director of the administration research department at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times.
According to related civil servant legislation and disciplinary penalties of the CPC, officials like Fan may face administrative punishments, such as being dismissed from their positions or expelled from the Party.
If the further investigation in these cases reveals that the officials have committed other crimes, then they will receive criminal punishments such as prison sentences.
Xu also pointed out that in some cases, if married officials have a serious relationship with another person, it may be regarded as a de facto marriage and they may face bigamy charges, which could result in legal ramifications as well as punishments from the Party.
Li Chunyan, a lawyer at the Beijing-based Anbo Law Firm, told the Global Times during a previous interview that it would be very difficult to charge Ji and Fan for bigamy in this case, because they have been identified as boyfriend and girlfriend, not a couple. Li said that if Ji was unaware Fan was married, this would make bigamy charges impossible.
Yun said that the administrative punishments for these kinds of violation should be strengthened and that the law should be specific when regulating such issues, in order to crack down on these affairs, which damage the reputation of the government, as well as the Party.