Saturday, May 30, 2020

Sex Video Fells Official In Latest Internet Takedown

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Local Communist Party officials in the Chinese megacity of Chongqing ousted a mid-level local official on Friday after a sex video featuring him and a young woman became an Internet sensation, according to state media. The ouster of Lei Zhengfu offers the latest example of technology bringing a new level of scrutiny to Chinese public officials. The state-run Xinhua news agency said on Friday that the Chongqing Municipal Committee for Discipline Inspection verified that Mr. Lei, secretary of the Communist Party Committee in the city’s Beibei district, is the man featured in the video. The explicit video, which shows an older man having sex with an apparently younger woman, was posted on the website of jdwsy.com, a site devoted to monitoring public officials, though it appears to have since been taken down. (The site still has screenshots that aren’t for the squeamish.) Local officials are now investigating the case, Xinhua said. Mr. Lei couldn’t be reached for comment. According to jdwsy.com, Mr. Lei told its reporter that the man in the video wasn’t him and said it must have been “modified with Photoshop,” a reference to the photo processing software. Xinhua repeated the comments in a report on Thursday. The Xinhua statement Friday didn’t specify whether Mr. Lei has been accused of breaking any laws or rules. But the role of the local party disciplinary committee suggests the issue was one of party discipline, which requires Communist party members to uphold a certain moral standard. In leveling public accusations against former party star Bo Xilai in September, the leadership included allegations of improper sexual relations along with accusations of corruption and abuse of power. The video has been one of the top subjects of discussion on Sina Corp. ’s Weibo microbloging service, where public officials have been under intense scrutiny as the Chinese public shows increasing interest in exposing official misconduct. Some drew parallels to Yang Dacai (known as “Brother Watch” for his expensive watches) and Cai Bin (known as “Uncle House” for his real estate holdings), local officials who were also ousted from their positions by local officials after they were criticized online for signs of lavish lifestyles. “What kind of work could officials like these possibly do well?” asked one Weibo poster. Officials have been quick to denounce signs of misbehavior, with everybody from President Hu Jintao and his eventual successor, newly promoted Communist Party chief Xi Jinping, warning during a gathering of party leaders earlier this month that misconduct threatens the party’s hold on power. Said the official Weibo account of a district in Nanjing: “The truth could not be Photoshopped.”  – Carlos Tejada w/ contributions from Yang Jie. Follow Carlos on Twitter @CRTejada

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Sex Video Fells Official In Latest Internet Takedown

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