Authorities have stepped up efforts to constrain the behavior of civil servants in their private lives, amid a series of recent sex scandals involving government officials that have rocked China.
The Dadong district government in Shenyang released its first “behavioral norms” prohibiting civil servants from having extramarital affairs, gambling, doing drugs, and spreading rumors online.
According to one legislator, these issues have “severely damaged the image of public servants” and as a result, created a need for official laws to regulate behaviors.
The behavioral norms, applicable during and after working hours, will affect over 5,000 government employees in the district.
In November last year, a six-clause love-affair contract between Tao Yi, a senior tax officer from Guangxi province, and his mistress, Ms. Fan, drew ridicule from netizens when it went viral online. The contract set out ground rules for their extramarital affair — from meeting at least once a week to a prohibition on sexual activity with any third parties. Tao was fired after the contract and his affair were made public.
Lei Zhengfu, a former Chongqing official at the center of a sex scandal exposed through an online sex video, was sentenced to 13 years in prison for taking bribes, highlighting the overlap between corruption and extramarital affairs. A study by Renmin University found that 95% of corrupt officials have extramarital affairs and more than 60% keep mistresses.
Reaction to the new rules has been mixed.
“Such rules should be applied across the country,” one internet user said.
“It is ridiculous that the basic norms and conducts of average citizens now become special rules for civil servants,” said another.
Sources: China Daily, Huashang Morning Post (华商晨报), Telegraph, Wall Street Journal
Hui Zhi is a Senior China Analyst with the China Compliance Digest, where a version of this post first appeared.