China’s anti-graft watchdog face criticism after naming female officials for practicing adultery

BEIJING (TIP): China’s anticorruption officials are being widely criticized for publicly shaming two high-ranking female officials for committing adultery besides accumulating illicit money. Critics are saying that adultery is not illegal, and anti-graft officials have no business to use it as a tool against suspects. The criticism, mostly voiced over different Internet forum, came after the Communist Party’s anti-graft body, Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, specifically named two female officials saying they “committed adultery with others”. They referred to Zhang Xiuping, former deputy Party chief from Jinzhong, and Yang Xiaobo, former mayor of Gaoping. The watchdog has punished a total of 80,000 party officials, both male and female, for corruption since Xi Jinping took charge as president in March last year.

Faced with criticism, the watchdog said adultery was not against the law, but was regarded as unacceptable behavior for Party members. In 2014, at least 20 senior female officials have been investigated by central government and provincial anti-graft watchdogs for crimes involving the abuse of power. The move raised questions on whether female officials used sex to rise in power and position, and later use their station to garner bribes. The official media cited names of officials with whom these female officials allegedly had sexual liaison.

There is a sharp rise in the number of female officials involved in corruption cases, the official media quoted officials at the Supreme Procuratorate, the office of the chief prosecutor, as saying. Most of the women were found to have offered or accepted bribes. “Corruption has nothing to do with age and gender,” Li Chengyan, a researcher with Peking University, told the Beijing News. “It has to do with loopholes of legal supervision on power, and how power should be restrained accordingly.” Other female officials punished include Jiang Runli, former director of Fushun Land Resources Bureau in Liaoning province, who was sentenced to life imprisonment in 2012 for accepting over $810,000 in bribes.

Searches of her house produced 48 top brand watches and 253 designer handbags. In another case, Liu Guangming, a senior female official in Anshan, Liaoning province, allegedly spent $650,000 worth of bribes on plastic surgery. In Beijing, a dozen female officials were caught for corruption linked to high-end beauty salons in 2012. One official, Bai Hong, former chairwoman of the labor union of Beijing Health Bureau, who spent $75,000 on beauty-salon, was given imprisonment for five years.

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