[xtypo_dropcap]I[/xtypo_dropcap]n 2003 I plan to sleep with at least 56 women,” writes Wang Cheng (not his real name), a mid-ranking official of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), on the first page of his sex-diary. “At least two of them should not be whores.”
The three diaries, first discovered by Wang’s wife, record in lurid detail his affairs with more than 500 women since 2003. After his wife’s friend reported him to the local court, Wang, 47, was arrested on bribery charges on March 21, 2010, which ended his plans to bed a total of 600 to 800 women. Wang confessed that the bribe money was lavished on his mistresses, including the purchase of real estate properties.
Wang Cheng’s case is just the latest in a string of sex scandals involving party cadres and their coteries of mistresses. Such tales of official debauchery have become a target of popular ridicule among Chinese netizens. One widely copied post, for example, issued awards for the mistress keepers:
"The Award of Quantity goes to Xu Qiyao, ex-head of construction in Jiangsu province, who amassed 146 mistresses [Wang Cheng later broke the record.] The Award of Quality goes to Zhang Zonghai, former propaganda director of Chongqing municipal party committee, who kept 17 college students. Former Hainan Textile Department head Li Qingshan wrote 95 sex diaries and kept hair samples from 236 different women, and thus wins himself the Award of Academic Study. Municipal Party Committee head Yang Feng wins the Award of Management for managing his seven mistresses using corporate management skills learnt from his MBA program. Provincial Party Committee head Lin Longfei is given the Award of Friendship for inviting all his 22 mistresses to a beauty pageant banquet…"
The Chinese public might have dismissed the phenomenon as just another willful indulgence among the political elite, if the cost to the nation’s resources were not so dear. The young women who give themselves to men of their fathers’ age do so for a price. Cars, houses, and pocket money for services and loyalty are bankrolled with embezzled funds.
The growing mistress constituency, flush with disposable income, has also helped drive China’s luxury consumption. Luxury brands like Louis Vuitton have enjoyed enormous success in China while their markets in the United States and Europe withered.
A report on the subject by HSBC says China’s is “a local luxury-goods market that is probably the only male-driven one on the planet,” adding that urban concubines are behind much of the luxury splurging.
Since the official salaries of even high ranking apparatchiks cannot afford such extravagances, the spoils of bribery fill the breach. In his 2003 diary, Wang Cheng, then on a 19,200 yuan ($2,833 dollars) annual salary, planned to rake in at least 100,000 yuan ($14,756 dollars) to support his womanizing fetish. Even so, Wang falls far short of his higher-ranked counterparts, who may easily spend millions of yuan on their female companions.
According to an official report, 106,000 officials were found guilty of corruption in 2009, an increase of 2.5 percent on the previous year, while the number of government officials caught embezzling more than one million yuan ($146,000) increased by 19 percent. Another report said over 95 percent of party cadres found guilty in recent years had kept mistresses.
The ancient Chinese held that intemperance is the germ of evil. In the case of communist cadres and their mistresses, corruption is only the beginning: in recent years an alarming tendency for officials to resort to murder has emerged.
In a May 25 post, well-known Chinese blogger Zhang Hongfeng listed the 12 most grisly cases of corrupt officials murdering their mistresses, culled from media reports.
In a 2005 case, former head of the Yunan Provincial Party Committee Yang Guoqu cut his mistress into pieces with a kitchen knife and cooked them in a pressure cooker, attempting to pulp the flesh. When this failed he stored the pieces in his refrigerator before being caught.
In a 2007 case, a police chief placed a bomb under his mistress’ car seat and set it off with a cell phone-shaped detonator when she stepped inside. The explosion ripped her in half.
Others have been equally sinister but somewhat more cautious, opting to hire hitmen to kill their female companions.
“These mistress killers share one thing in common,” Zhang wrote in his widely quoted blog: “They all have a successful political career. The Party either has already placed them in important positions, or is about to do so.”
In most cases, the killed woman either asked for more money than the official wanted to give, or was jealous of the official’s other mistresses and threatened to report the man to his superiors. “For the corrupt officials, their political future is the most important thing,” Zhang writes. “When a mistress is in the way, she simply must die!”
The authorities’ exploitation of their social privilege has undermined their own legitimacy, leading to a conspicuous polarization of wealth, and a commensurate hatred toward the rich and powerful.
Chinese were shocked when a 42-year-old physician stabbed 13 children with a fruit knife on March 23, at the gate of an elementary school in Nanping City, Fujian Province, killing nine. Over the following three days, three similar violent outbursts took place in different provinces. The criminals appeared to target the most prestigious schools in the region, supposed to be filled with the children of communist officials and the nouveau riche.