Chinese anti-corruption drive nets official with 47 mistresses
An anti-corruption drive in China has netted suspects that include an executive accused of cavorting with gigolos, a young woman who owns 11 apartments, a provincial official with 47 mistresses and a vice-mayor with ties to a drug gang. Many alleged misdeeds were exposed by internet users – mostly whistleblowers and rogue journalists – and promulgated via unusually freewheeling coverage in state-owned media.
Another, less vaunted government clampdown – this one on dissenting views – leaves little hope for a Chinese people-power renaissance. Over the past week authorities have surreptitiously replaced an outspoken editorial in a liberal newspaper with brazen propaganda, scrubbed an open letter calling for constitutional governance from the internet, and closed down an outspoken Beijing-based magazine for advocating political reform.
Communist party secretary Xi Jinping said corruption could lead to the "end of the party". His administration has ruthlessly singled out venal officials and is implementing a series of regulations to limit displays of official waste. Yet analysts say that Xi's anti-graft drive is only skin-deep, and that party leaders will be hard pressed to eradicate corruption while maintaining their perennially hard line on dissent.
"For a short period of time, you can have draconian measures that can deter corruption, but in the long term the best way to deal with it is to make sure that there are checks and balances," said Steve Tsang, a professor of Chinese studies at the University of Nottingham.