China has introduced new rules to monitor the personal lives of 96 local government and Communist Party of China (CPC) officials in Shuyang county in Jiangsu province for its "morality standards".
According to China Daily, the local government will scrutinize officials' relations with their parents, children and neighbours and also investigate their extramarital affairs, which often ruin their careers.
AdvertisementTheir records of marital fidelity, filial piety, parenting and good neighbourliness will be included in their biannual performance assessments.
"Personal morality would be assessed through interviews, home visits, investigations and public submissions," Wang Xiaodong, head of Shuyang's CPC organization department said.
Shuyang Party chief Jiang Jianming has said that officials should set moral examples and a failure to do so could bring disrepute to the whole government. Citing an online report about an official who repeatedly sent vulgar text messages to his female colleagues, he stated that the new rules were a result of immoralities in the past.
Earlier, in more than 95 percent of major corruption cases handled by the CPC Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI), the convicted officials were found to have extramarital lovers, the report said.
"I think such regulations are necessary, if we can find signs of corruption through routine checks, we can deal with it as early as possible," Tian Xianfeng, Shuyang's police chief said.
Meanwhile, the new rules have become a matter of public debate.
"They are unrealistic with little practical value, officials in foreign countries also face consequences, such as resignation or impeachment, of moral blunders. But how can love affairs be disclosed in a routine check?" He Bing, a professor at the China University of Political Science and Law argued.
However, Tian Xiangbo, a researcher at the Hunan University's Research Center for Clean Governance, disagreed with Bing saying that the limits of officials' privacy should not be the same as that of ordinary people as officials are obliged to disclose some of their personal affairs for the sake of public interest.