Four officials suspended for sex scandal

By Lin Meilian Source:Global Times Published: 2013-8-5 0:48:01

Municipal disciplinary authorities in Shanghai Sunday announced that four local court officials embroiled in accusations of soliciting prostitutes have been suspended from their positions and are under investigation.

The four became the latest officials to come under scrutiny due to sex scandals after an anonymous whistle-blower Thursday posted a video that he said showed five men in a nightclub with prostitutes in Shanghai on June 9.

Among them, two men in the video were later identified by the Shanghai Higher People's Court as Chen Xueming and Zhao Minghua, respectively chief and deputy chief of the court's No. 1 civil court, after the Shanghai municipal disciplinary commission asked the whistle-blower to cooperate with the investigation.

The municipal disciplinary authorities said on its official Sina Weibo account that Chen and another three court officials are being probed.

However, the identity of the fifth man in the video has yet to be revealed.

The whistle-blower, surnamed Ni, could not be reached on Sunday, but he told the Global Times on Friday that he had received anonymous threats after exposing the scandal.

Ni revealed that he was motivated to publish the video as he suspected Zhao Minghua had intervened in a 2010 civil contract dispute that involved him and a relative of Zhao's, which resulted in an unjust sentence, the Beijing Times reported.

Ni added that he spent a year following Zhao and discovered that he frequently went to high-class nightclubs, owns several properties and had extramarital affairs. He said he handed all the evidence to the disciplinary authorities on Saturday, including 30 hours of unabridged video footage showing the whole process of the court officials' alleged hiring of prostitutes.

The footage that he posted online showed that five men visiting a nightclub with young women on their arms had been filmed by the nightclub's surveillance camera. A day after their visit, Ni went to the nightclub on the pretext of losing something and demanded to watch the surveillance footage, and finally obtained it.

A manager surnamed Yao from the nightclub refused to comment on the case, and only said they would assist the investigation, the Nandu Daily reported.

Shanghai's high court pledged a thorough investigation and subsequent harsh punishment if the allegations were found to be true.

The posted video spread quickly and outraged many Net users. Many called for the officials involved to be removed.

Just a month ago, Lei Zhengfu, the former Party secretary of Chongqing's Beibei district, was sentenced to 13 years in jail for bribery after a video was put online showing him having sex with a young woman.

Signs of corruption are often seen in government officials' private lives. At least 60 percent of corruption cases involve them having mistresses, according to a study by Wu Changzhen, a professor with the China University of Political Science and Law.

Liu Zonghong, director of the History and Research Department at the Party School of the Shanghai Municipal Party Committee, told the Global Times that monitoring officials' private lives is key to the Party's anti-corruption campaign.

"As a public figure, an official's corrupt image will tarnish the public's trust in the government," Liu said. "The Party has called for the strengthening of supervision over officials' lives outside the office."

"But to make it work it also requires intra-Party moral education," he added.

Speaking at a conference to launch the Party's year-long "mass line" campaign in June, Xi Jinping, general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, called on Party members to "watch from the mirror" to live up to CPC discipline and public expectations.

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