Sex, communism and real estate

The Chinese Communist Party cracks down on party members creative uses of property.

When it comes to Chinas Communist Party, it might surprise few that there is a great deal of corruption in the ranks. But the most frequent ethics violations might raise a few eyebrows. According to a recent report by the Xinhua news agency, Chinas Supreme Court figures for last year show that out of 90,000 Communist party members, more than 60 per cent were punished for their involvement in illegal real estate deals and almost 90 percent kept mistresses.

In the past five years, 16 officials at the ministerial-level or above were removed on corruption charges, and ten of them were involved either in accepting bribes to sell land for cheap or stealing public funds to invest in construction projects, according to the report. At the same time, 14 senior officials were identified as reckless philanderers who use public funds to shower gifts on their mistresses. Some officials even managed to combine both of Chinas top violations. Former statistical chief Qiu Xiaohua was removed after accepting a home in Shanghai for his mistress as a gift. And former Beijing vicemayor Liu Zhihua, who was in charge of venue construction for the Beijing Olympics Games, was fired after it was discovered hed been using his position to seek lucrative Olympics projects to benefit his mistress, according to the report.

Of course, Chinese officials arent the only world leaders to be lured in by these two vices. But the high number of dismissals reflects the main areas the party is combating in its drive against corruption, or at least, its drive against the perception of corruption. With the 17th party congress coming up in a matter of weeks, the release of the figures was likely an effort to show progress in an anti-corruption drive that has stressed political ethics and Confucian values. Party members have been warned not just against corruption but also against
improper behaviour like gambling, visiting nightclubs or massage parlors and attending religious ceremonies.