China’s New Wealth Spurs a Market for Mistresses

China’s economic growth has fueled an appetite for luxury and lust. Incessant tales of corruption, mismanagement and extra-marital affairs have regularly been reported by newspapers and internet blogs. From the New York Times:

The phenomenon has been an official concern for some time now. In 2007, China’s top prosecutor’s office said that 90 percent of the country’s most senior officials felled by corruption scandals in previous years had kept mistresses.

Faced with a spate of legal disputes between mistresses and their lovers over money and with growing public disgust that threatens to tarnish its authority, the Communist Party is trying to stanch the mistress tide through carrots and sticks aimed at women and men alike.

The Supreme People’s Court has considered a draft interpretation of the country’s marriage law that would for the first time acknowledge mistresses, stating that they have no legal right to their patron’s money, property or other expensive trinkets, legal experts said. Likewise, married men would not be able to use the courts to regain the cash and other niceties they had lavished on affairs gone bad.

See also: The New York Times reports on the scandal of pseudonymous microblogger Guo Meimei Baby, a 20-year-old woman who flaunted her luxurious lifetyle while stating that she worked for the Red Cross Society of China, thereby launching a national discussion about corruption among charities in China