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Mandarin Monkey Business

In Dongguan, a Chinese city on the Pearl River Delta, graft busters are using a powerful weapon against corrupt public officials: their mistresses. During a recent period, 32 out of 38 corruption cases handled by the city’s prosecutors were based on complaints or confessions from girlfriends of married office-holders. “At least 80 percent of corrupt officials exposed in Dongguan had mistresses who gave us important information that we did not possess,” said Zhou Yuefeng, deputy director of the Dongguan anti-graft bureau.

“We welcome tip-offs and we will protect and reward informers,” Zhou said.

According to a local press report, the Chinese public-servants regulation that went into effect in 2007 “stipulates that any official must be dismissed if found to have a mistress.” But the law hasn’t deterred the amorous bureaucrats.

“Ninety-five percent of the corrupt officials have a mistress or more,” said Wang Zhang, head of the discipline commission of Zhengzhou, Henan Province. After analyzing more than 50 cases, he put the women “into seven categories based on what they wanted from the officials — love, power or money.” His investigators are now using the categories to tailor interrogation techniques.

Wang clarified that mistresses don’t cause corruption but are a symptom of the abuse of public office. He advised all officials “to stay home with their families, reading books and working on their computers. Of course, a harmonious family can help men stay away from other women,” he said.

Apparently the practice has even spread to tax collectors and overworked doctors. Back in Dongguan, a spokesperson for the prosecutor’s office said, “Our focus this year will be on the taxation and medical departments. However, that doesn’t mean we won’t be looking at corruption in other areas.”
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