The hackneyed phrases and swelled-up language of communist struggle—so familiar to earlier generations of Chinese—have mostly been scrubbed from public discourse in contemporary China; but, every now and then, such anachronisms rear their heads.
Such was the case with 46-year-old Ma Yiping, a married man and director general of the Commission of Commerce of Hanjiang District in Yangzhou City in southern China. “I sincerely give my assurance to the Chinese Communist Party that I will marry Li Qing next year, or no later than the year after next…” he wrote in a guarantee letter.
The idea of swearing an oath to a political party on an issue as personal as marriage may seem strange, but vows of a similar kind have been forced out of Party members and ordinary citizens for generations. Adherents of certain spiritual groups in China today are forced to make similar pledges, or face imprisonment and torture: such as in the case of Falun Gong, a spiritual practice persecuted since 1999, or Tibetan Buddhism, whose adherents are sometimes forced to denounce the Dalai Lama.
According to Oriental Morning Post’s article on July 28, Ma pledged in his letter to the CCP not only to marry Li Qing, his mistress, but also to divorce his wife.
The report claimed that as Ma didn’t fulfill his promise, Li chose to expose the ‘guarantee letter’ to the world. She posted her story on Longhu.net, the only official online news outlet of Nanjing City, capital of the southern province of Jiangsu. The article revealed that Ma was in a bigamous marriage, carried on sexual affairs with several women, and took bribes.
The article also posted wedding dress photos of Li and Ma, as well as four signed “marriage certificates” by Ma.
Ma wrote in his guarantee letter, “I sincerely vow to the party that I will marry Li Qing no later than the year after next. Within this year, I will take on the responsibility to be Li Qing’s husband. Otherwise I will bear all the consequences.”
The article said that Li met Ma last summer at a gathering of the clansmen association of Jiandu. Later, Ma began pursuing her, also claiming that he and his wife were incompatible. After the two started living together, however, Ma beat her at least a dozen times, sometimes badly: once knocking out four of her teeth, another time leading her to miscarry.
On Feb. 2, Ma wrote another guarantee claiming that he would divorce his wife as soon as his daughter finished her university entrance exams. Since all the promises were not fulfilled, Li became dejected and decided to expose Ma.
Li claims that Ma has at least five mistresses, three properties in Yangzhou, and spends vast sums supporting his lascivious lifestyle. Such salacious news is catnip for bloggers, and the story was widely circulated.