China's scorned mistresses tell all

BEIJING - An unlikely whistle-blower for Chinese President Xi Jinping's much publicised crackdown on official corruption has emerged - the scorned mistress, the BBC reported, citing especially a recent high-profile case.

Their public accounts have offered a rare glimpse of the extravagant lifestyles of the governing elite, enraging the Chinese public, said the broadcaster. The case said to be in the full glare of China's hundreds of millions of microblog users is that of Ms Ji Yingnan, a mistress who shamed her former lover online. The 26-year-old former presenter of China Tourism and Economy Television identified her lover as Mr Fan Yue, a deputy director at the State Administration of Archives. She posted videos and pictures of the couple on the Internet in June, reported Chinese news portal Sohu. They showed the couple, who were 16 years apart in age, enjoying shopping sprees, splashing about in a private swimming pool and at a party, where the official asked his mistress to marry him.

According to Ms Ji, she exposed her boyfriend after discovering he was married with a teenage son.

"He always promised to marry me and I always thought he would be my fiance, or even husband," she told the Global Times. But what shocked the public were the staggering sums of cash involved. According to Ms Ji, her lover gave her 10,000 yuan (S$2,040) a day in pocket money in the four years they were together, a luxury car and promises of an apartment.

She told the Global Times she first reported Mr Fan to the authorities, believing he was involved in corruption. But she said she never received a reply and then decided to post her allegations online. The details of her lavish lifestyle raised the obvious question: How could her lover afford all this on a modest government salary? According to state-run news agency Xinhua, Mr Fan was sacked from his job in June and is now being investigated over the corruption allegations.

But Sohu pointed out that Mr Fan was only attached to the archives department and on record he is still a senior official at the central office of the Chinese Communist Party based in Zhongnanhai, where China's top leaders work and live. One of the main sites that posted Ms Ji's revelations is run by Mr Zhu Ruifeng, an anti-corruption blogger. He shot to prominence last year after posting a sex tape starring a government official. "In China, nothing is clear," said Mr Zhu, referring to the lack of public information on the financial status of powerful officials. "The public don't know what officials are up to. But mistresses live with government officials, they spend their money, they know about everything that goes on. When a mistress stands up, the truth comes out."

According to a government report in 2007, 90 per cent of top officials brought down by corruption scandals had kept a mistress - and in many cases they had more than one. But in May, the People's Daily, China's flagship newspaper, ran an editorial saying the country cannot count on mistresses to expose corruption. "Some (mistresses) directly solicit bribes or seek huge illegal profits," it said. "To pin anti-corruption hopes on them is to go in for evil attacking evil."

"In recent months, exposes by mistresses are quickly screened off by the government once they are posted," Sohu quoted Mr Zhu as saying.

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