A series of stories recently help paint a picture of extravagance at the official level in China.
First of all, China has announced a 5-year ban on the construction of any new government buildings.
China issued a directive on Tuesday banning the construction of government buildings for the next five years, the latest in a series of initiatives by President Xi Jinping to discourage corruption and foster frugality at a time of broad popular resentment against high-living bureaucrats.
Xi Jinping's attempt to crack down on opulent spending by government officials is well known. There were many reports about how the entire high end restaurant and banquet sectors of the economy went into freefall after a directive about cutting down on parties.
Meanwhile, two stories in WantChinaTimes.com, a Taiwan-based outlet that reports on Chinese activities shed light on the public pecadillos of Chinese officials.
A reporter working for China's official Xinhua news agency has blown the whistle on sex parties held by wealthy businessmen to bribe high-ranking government officials, revealing details of activities such as drinking human breast milk.
Zhou Fang posted an article on his microblog on July 17 claiming knowledge of parties where officials would pay a 5,000 yuan (US$815) admission fee to engage in sex acts with young women and drink breast milk from young nursing mothers.
An official from Jiangsu province has set what is believed to be a record after authorities revealed that he had had more than 140 mistresses, including a mother and daughter, reports the Chinese-language Qingdao Financial Daily.
The dubious honor goes to Xu Qiyao, the former director of the Jiangsu provincial construction department. One of his mistresses had asked Xu to help her daughter find a job after she graduated from school — which he did, after a fashion. Xu allegedly once boasted about this fact to friends when drunk and compared the sexual abilities of the mother and daughter.
Perhaps the most interesting part of that story is not the number of mistresses the official had, but rather the why:
Jin Weizhi, a vice-ministerial-level official, was said to have told people that there is no official at his level who doesn't have at least a few lovers. "It's not just for biological needs, it's a reflection of your status," he is alleged to have said. "Otherwise people will look down on you."
Mistresses have indeed in the past proved to be a test of an official's management skills and stamina.
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