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Fall of the 'Zipper Mayor': evidence from 11 mistresses nails corrupt Chinese official

By Clifford Coonan in Beijing

A prominent Chinese cadre, who was sacked and expelled from the Communist Party in February, was exposed by a joint complaint filed by 11 of his mistresses, according to local reports.

Pang Jiayu, the former vice-chairman of the People's Political Consultative Conference in Shaanxi province, faces punishment over corruption charges.

The women were mostly the "pretty and young" wives of Pang's subordinates when he was mayor of Baoji, the People's Daily reported. After their husbands were sentenced to death or jailed for their involvement in a financial firm approved by Pang that lost millions of yuan, they decided to take revenge.

The 11 women filed a joint complaint to the party's central disciplinary body with evidence of his corruption.

"Pang did not expect that he would be brought down by his own 11 mistresses," the People's Daily said, adding that he had helped them "make big money" by assigning them or their husbands huge government or other financial projects.

Many powerful Chinese men keep a mistress, known in Chinese as an er nai (second breast). Indeed, Pang's liking for female company had earned him the nickname "Zipper Mayor".

The tradition had been all but banished after the Communists took power in 1949, but increased openness, more prosperity and corruption among officials has led to revival.

There have been startling reports of corrupt officials abusing their positions to get women – media reports this week said 90 per cent of the country's most senior officials punished for "serious" graft in the past five years had kept mistresses.

Last month, a senior provincial official was executed for killing his mistress with a car bomb. During the trial in 2000 of Xu Qiyao, the head of the Jiangsu province Construction Bureau, he was found to have had relations with more than 100 women, including a mother and her daughter.

Lin Longfei, the former Communist Party secretary of Zhouning county in Fujian province, was sentenced to death for corruption after it was discovered he kept 22 mistresses.

Last year, the mistress of a building contractor was jailed for six years for arranging the "rescue" of her lover from police, who were questioning him over alleged corruption.

The sacking of the former finance minister Jin Renqing last month was linked to his connection with a "social butterfly", although the official line was that he quit for "personal reasons".

The central government is out to combat corruption which it believes could weaken its grip on power. The private lives of politicians are under increased scrutiny and the leadership warns that official corruption is so serious that it could threaten the party's rule.

The government is stepping up its drive against corruption ahead of a five-yearly Communist Party congress in mid-October.

The fight against corruption will figure high on the agenda and the government wants to show it is making headway.

Belfast Telegraph


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