Viral love diary of mistress ends career of Yi Junqing, senior propaganda official
Five weeks after a lengthy chronicle of his sexual encounters with a woman went viral on the Chinese Internet, Yi Junqing, a high-ranking official, was fired for “improper lifestyle,” according to a terse news dispatch from the state-run Xinhua News Agency on January 17.
Yi Junqing, director of the Central Compilation and Translation Bureau, has been removed from post for his “improper life style.”
— Xinhua News Agency (@XHNews) January 17, 2013
Although no further explanation was provided, the move to discipline him is widely seen as an official confirmation of the previous guesses that Yi Junqing had been a master of the pay-to-play and sleep-to-play schemes.
Mr. Yi, 54, helmed China’s Central Compilation and Translation Bureau, an official think tank that translates and does research for policy makers. Although Yi remained out of spotlight as a scholar for the most part of his career, his rank in the Chinese bureaucratic hierarchy is the same as a vice minister’s.
Last December, a woman posted a 120,000-word diary that documented in excruciating detail her 17 sexual encounters with Yi Junqing, including dates and the names of hotels. A dozen others working at the Compilation and Translation Bureau were mentioned in the diary. The article immediately grabbed eyes of curious net users, and had circulated on almost every popular web portals, message boards and social media.
“A bottle of sake, we each emptied half. My face flushed terribly, but my mind was sober. I leaned on the side of the bed, as he walked to the bathroom. Having the last ‘lesson,’ this time, I undressed until only two little undergarments were on me. When he came back to the bedroom, I was already lying under the duvet, blushing. Naturally, two became one,” she wrote.
In a nutshell, the author, Chang Yan, a postdoctorate researcher at the bureau, claimed that she wanted to relocate to Beijing and secure a hukou, or a permanent residence permit, in Beijing. Only after slipping over 50,000 yuan into Yi’s pocket did she get a chance to sleep with him. When Chang, already emotionally attracted to Yi, found Yi had other mistresses and would never keep his promise of a hukou, she demanded Yi of a million yuan as hush money. Though Yi gave her the money, Chang aired the dirty laundry anyway after they fell out.
A few days later, as the internet was buzzing about the kiss-and-tell story, Ms. Chang took down the article and issued a written apology on the web, stating that the diary is “a mere fictional work” she wrote “under severe depression due to huge stress from scientific research.”
But almost all net users were convinced that it is an unflattering and faithful account of the facts, and that Chang must have been come under pressure to retract it. They also thought Yi’s case proves a rule, rather than an exception, in China’s filthy officialdom. “Can the eggs remain intact when the nest is totally ruined? Can there be any white cloth inside a dye vat?” One Weibo user asked.
Since last year, social media has proven an effective platform for journalists, vindictive mistresses and even snarky ordinary citizens to expose officials’ scandals and corruption. One local official in the southwestern city of Chongqing was sacked in ignominy after a video of him having sex with a teen was leaked by a citizen journalist online. Another in Shaanxi province who was seen smiling at a fatal accident scene was subject to online public scrutiny that accused him of owning too many luxury watches and eventually cost his career.
Besides, Xi Jinping, the Communist Party’s new leader, has been waging a war on corruption since taking charge in November. “There are many pressing problems within the Party that needs to be resolved urgently, especially the graft and corruption cases that occurred to some of the Party members and cadres, being out of touch from the general public, bureaucracy and undue emphasis on formalities — they must be resolved with great efforts,” he said in his debut speech. So far, a number of senior government officials have been removed or prosecuted.
But it remains unclear how long the new broom will keep sweeping clean. Just as one Weibo user put it, “Unless there is supervision and effective system of checks and balances, today one Yi fell down, tomorrow, thousands more Yi will rise up.”