Top Press Official Dismissed On Corruption Charge

Raymond Li at The South China Morning Post reports that Jiao Li, one of the top propaganda officials in China, has been dismissed from his administrative position and possibly stripped of his CCP membership amid swirling rumors of corruption and sex scandals:

A mid-ranking CCTV official, who declined to be named, said yesterday that Jiao, who became the state broadcaster’s president in May 2009, had been unpopular for introducing a number of controversial measures, including a drastic pay cut.

[...] The CCTV official said Jiao had been caught in the political crossfire over the fallout from a blaze at CCTV’s new headquarters in Beijing in February 2009 that led to the removal of his predecessor, Zhao Huayong.

She said rumours were also rife inside CCTV about Jiao’s possible involvement in corruption and sex scandals, including his ties to a well-known mainland folk singer.

[...] Some analysts said Jiao’s fall could add more uncertainty to a once-a-decade leadership transfer at the party’s 18th national congress early next month by compromising Li’s bargaining power in horse-trading over the future leadership line-up and affecting Liu’s bid for a place on the all-powerful Politburo Standing Committee.

China Copy Right and Media relates the downfall of Jiao with the political ambition of his ally, another top propaganda official, Liu Yunshan:

Unfortunately, in this case, most we have to go on are reports by partisan overseas Chinese media, which may not necessarily reliable. However, let’s assume, for the sake of the argument, that they are true. This might have interesting consequences for the relationship between the propaganda apparat and the Standing Committee. Propaganda is, together with discipline inspection and personnel appointments, one of the three large supporting pillars of the Party, and the head of the propaganda apparat has been a Standing Committee member since 1989, when the structure was overhauled. There has been an increasing emphasis on media and culture in recent years but until now, the institutions in those fields have generally been staffed by the conservative side of the Party. It is not unimaginable to think that in the raging political crisis, control over propaganda, and therefore the tools of public opinion guidance, has been one of the major points of conflict for the next round of appointments. Also, political battles in China often are fought through underlings. For example, Chen Liangyu’s dismissal in 2003 signalled Hu Jintao’s consolidation of power over the Shanghai faction, while the dismissal of his right hand man Ling Jihua was considered to be a great weakening of his power. It seems inconceivable that Jiao’s dismissal, especially at this time, has nothing to do with Liu Yunshan’s Standing Committee aspirations. However, there are different options. Liu might now be out of the running for one of the spots, but it might also be the case that Jiao’s dismissal is part of a compromise in which Liu will succeed Li Changchun, but will be beholden to other factions in the Party. One more story on the rumour mill, one more reason to watch the line-up, somewhere by this time next month.

Meanwhile, Mark Mackinnon at The Globe and Mail examines the epidemic of having trophy mistresses within China’s elite circle:

China’s top sexologist calls it the “emperor complex” and says powerful Chinese men seek to accumulate women the same way they desire money and power. “I think it mainly comes form the Chinese tradition of having concubines. Monogamy has only been around for 60 years. But in history, there was nothing wrong with [having mistresses] at all,” said Li Yinhe of the state-run Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. “Now successful men take mistresses – I would even call it a subculture – as a way of showing off their success.”

[...] Indeed, a 2007 report prepared for China’s top prosecutor drew a direct line between marital indiscretions and misbehaviour in office. Almost 90 per cent of the officials who had been sacked for corruption over the previous five years had mistresses, the report found, with “some keeping several.”