A scandal involving a sex tape made by a local Chongqing official, Lei Zhengfu, and an allegedly 18-year-old woman has been a hot topic on Sina Weibo in recent days. From BBC:
Screenshots purporting to be from video of Lei Zhengfu having sex with his mistress, were published on Tuesday.
Mr Lei, a party chief in the city of Chongqing, is reported to have said that the video is a fake.
The case highlights the growing influence of China’s microbloggers in pursuing local officials.
Correspondents say that the Communist Party has stepped up its drive against corruption and official impropriety amid rising public anger at abuses of power.
After an investigation determined that the tape was authentic, Lei was relieved of his post, according to Xinhua:
Investigations by the Chongqing Municipal Committee for Discipline Inspection verified that Lei Zhengfu, secretary of the Beibei District Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC), featured in the video, which was filmed in 2007.
On Friday, Chongqing Municipal Committee of the CPC decided to remove Lei from his post and begin an investigation into the case.
Lei, 54, used to serve as vice mayor of the county-level Jiangjin City, Party chief and head of Dianjiang County, deputy Party chief of Jiulongpo District, Party chief and head of Beibei District, which are all under Chongqing, according to government information.
Ji Xuguang, a journalist, released an article on the sex video along with some screengrabs earlier this week.
“At the Spring Festival and two days after the festival in 2007, the man, who was deputy Party chief and head of Beibei District at that time, was fooling around with his 18-year-old mistress at a hotel of Chongqing,” he said in the article.
Now, additional details of the case reveal it to be more than a simple affair and may implicate former Chongqing police chief Wang Lijun, who has been sentenced to 15 years in prison on unrelated charges including abuse of power and bribe-taking. The South China Morning Post reports on the account by Chinese “citizen journalist” Zhu Ruifeng:
Quoting an unidentified informant within the Chongqing police bureau, Zhu said that the young woman in the video, surnamed Zhao, was one of many who were trained by the head of a construction company to be “given” to officials as bribes.
Zhu claimed that “the construction builder ‘gave’ Zhao to Lei” in early 2007. The builder had Zhao secretly recorded the sex tape and used it to blackmail Lei, prompting Lei to report it to a Chongqing “senior official”. This was followed by Wang Lijun’s order to detain Zhao for thirty days and jail the builder for a year.
Zhu said he could back his claims with police records given to him by the anonymous source. He said he has a record of the police’s interrogation of the builder.
Zhu also claimed he had sex tapes of six officials, “four of them are incumbent officials”.
A post on Ministry of Tofu, also based on Chinese media accounts, says disgraced Chongqing Party chief Bo Xilai may also be implicated in the case:
From 2002 to 2006, Lei Zhengfu, while serving as the party secretary of Dianjiang county under the city of Chongqing, he used his position to give contracts of the county’s public works projects to a construction company owned by his younger brother to benefit himself and his family. Other contractors could only get leftover nominal projects.
In 2007, in order to win lucrative contracts from him, who had by then been promoted to the vice party secretary of Chongqing’s Jiulongpo District, one construction company offered huge bribes to Lei. However, having netted millions of yuan, Lei was not impressed and rejected their offer.
The company soon found out about Lei’s particular interest in women. So they hired several young women, all under 20, and put them through strict training before sending them to sexually please Lei. At the same time, these young women, who approached Lei with fake identities and proffered to be his mistresses, secretly videotaped the intercourse for the company to have more leverage over Lei.
In 2009, the head of the construction company fell out with Lei over business interests and threatened Lei with the sex tape. Lei came cleaned on his ‘one-time mistake’ to Bo Xilai, then the party boss of Chongqing and a contender for one of China’s most powerful political posts. Soon, Wang Lijun, then Chongqing’s police chief, headed a special team to investigate the matter. As the result, Zhao Hongxia was detained for 30 days, and the boss of the company was incarcerated for a year for ‘carving an official seal without authorization from the government.’