Online Account of Affair Leads to Dismissal of Official

The latest casualty of a shifting tide against official power and privilege is Yi Junqing, director of the Central Compilation and Translation Bureau, who recently lost his job over “lifestyle issues.” These issues came to light after a female researcher in his department published a 100,000 character account of their year-long affair. From the New York Times:

In a season when dozens of ethically challenged Chinese officials have been felled by their lust for women, money and luxury watches, the downfall of Mr. Yi prompted a hearty round of snickering and schadenfreude, and not just because his vice minister’s rank made him one of the more senior party members to lose his job over malfeasance.

“People have come to treat such news as entertainment, but that’s only because we feel so helpless,” said Zhu Ruifeng, a muckraking journalist.

[...] More than a theoretician, Mr. Yi was a vocal critic of vulgarity in popular culture and an advocate for enhancing China’s soft power by selling the notion of Chinese virtue to the world. Speaking to the state news media in 2011, he said the nation should be “selecting moral models and setting positive examples” that portray China’s image in a positive light, “so the world would see the true glamour and strength of modern China.”

While it was the party leadership that ultimately tossed Mr. Yi overboard, it was the Internet that sealed his fate. Over the past two months, a parade of corrupt officials have been exposed by enterprising journalists, anonymous tipsters or, in Mr. Yi’s case, jilted lovers.

Ministry of Tofu has more details on the affair and the online account:

Last December, a woman posted a 120,000-word diary that documented in excruciating detail her 17 sexual encounters with Yi Junqing, including dates and the names of hotels. A dozen others working at the Compilation and Translation Bureau were mentioned in the diary. The article immediately grabbed eyes of curious net users, and had circulated on almost every popular web portals, message boards and social media.

“A bottle of sake, we each emptied half. My face flushed terribly, but my mind was sober. I leaned on the side of the bed, as he walked to the bathroom. Having the last ‘lesson,’ this time, I undressed until only two little undergarments were on me. When he came back to the bedroom, I was already lying under the duvet, blushing. Naturally, two became one,” she wrote.

In a nutshell, the author, Chang Yan, a postdoctorate researcher at the bureau, claimed that she wanted to relocate to Beijing and secure a hukou, or a permanent residence permit, in Beijing. Only after slipping over 50,000 yuan into Yi’s pocket did she get a chance to sleep with him. When Chang, already emotionally attracted to Yi, found Yi had other mistresses and would never keep his promise of a hukou, she demanded Yi of a million yuan as hush money. Though Yi gave her the money, Chang aired the dirty laundry anyway after they fell out.

A few days later, as the internet was buzzing about the kiss-and-tell story, Ms. Chang took down the article and issued a written apology on the web, stating that the diary is “a mere fictional work” she wrote “under severe depression due to huge stress from scientific research.”

Feichang Dao blog reports that a Zhejiang Daily editorial on the case, entitled “Mouth Full of Marxism, Belly Full of Deceit,” was deleted from the website.

January 21, 2013 10:23 PM
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