Chinese officials are being told to dump their mistresses, avoid hostess bars, and shun extravagances as part of the Communist party’s efforts to clamp down on the corruption that is threatening its rule and sullying its reputation.
The language of the new morality push, one of countless such campaigns informally under way, is surprisingly bold, often cutting through the bureaucratese to make a clear link between moral lassitude and corruption. One statistic trotted out at a recent speech to bureaucrats: 95 percent of officials investigated for corruption were found to be keeping mistresses.
“It’s just not possible to keep a mistress on your salary because maintaining this sort of extravagant lifestyle requires a large amount of cash money,” Qi Peiwen, a party discipline enforcer, told officials in southern China.
“So what do you do if you don’t have the money? Naturally, you’ll use the power at your disposal to go find some,” Qi said, according to a transcript carried by state media.
The message was reinforced in a series of speeches at party academies last month by Li Yuanchao. He runs the organization department that controls senior appointments.