President Xi Jinping’s anti-corruption campaign has been officially widened to include adultery as a crime and could result in the suspect being expelled from the Communist Party of China (CPC).
But, if a state media report is to be believed, an official could still get away with it if he has had less than three mistresses.
Infidelity in marriage, according to the Wednesday report, is not forbidden in China as per law but Party’s rules now prohibit its 83 million members from committing it.
Since the beginning of June, CPC Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, the country’s top anti-corruption watchdog, has expelled and punished at least six senior Party officials for committing adultery besides taking bribes and abusing their official powers.
According to China.org, an official news website, CCDI authorities till now used ambiguous terms to accuse officials of having relationships outside their marriage: their favourite phrases were “living a degenerate lifestyle” or the equally vague “moral corruption”.
But that ambiguity is now being discarded, the report said.
Last month, the CCDI quietly tweaked the rules.
The website quoted a CCDI statement that announced that CPC members were “governed by rules that are stricter than the country’s laws and that Party members must have high moral standards.”
The statement added that officials “who commit adultery and leave a negative social impression could be removed from their posts and stripped of their Party membership”.
The most recent official to be punished was Yang Baohua, former vice-chairman of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference Hunan Provincial Committee, the province’s top political advisory body. He was expelled from the CPC on Tuesday.
“Disciplinary authorities found that the 67-year-old had taken bribes, wielded his power for the benefit of others, and committed adultery,” according to a CCDI statement.
Of course, till now the most famous and senior CPC official to have been accused of having a “degenerate lifestyle” – besides committing financial corruption and abuse of power – was the Party’s rising star, Bo Xilai who was packed off to jail last year in a high-profile trial.
But despite the sharper focus on moral corruption or adultery, the range when it tips over to become a crime apparently remains undefined: A CCDI official told the Henan Business News it means the suspect “official has had at least three mistresses”. Well.