Chinese City Bans Officials From Having Extramarital Affairs

by VR Sreeraman on Jul 11 2009 12:46 PM

Officials in Sichuan province's Meishan city have been banned from taking lovers outside marriage, as well as sleeping during meetings.

According to the China Daily, a guideline titled "Behavior Standards for Officials of Meishan After Eight Hours of Work" was released with four other directions designed to strengthen discipline among county-level or higher officials in Meishan.

"Officials should persist in being upright and honest after work hours, should not have too close relations with people that are interest related, and should not have abnormal relations with people of the opposite sex," it reads.

Some officials in China have been notorious for having numerous lovers.

According to statistics by the Supreme People's Procuratorate, 90 percent of provincial or ministry level officials found guilty of corruption have had lovers.

Among the notorious adulterers is Xu Qiyao, former director of the construction bureau of Jiangsu province, who was reported to have had 146 lovers during his official term.

He is still referred as "the one who had the most lovers" on the Internet. He was sentenced to death with a two-year reprieve in 2001 for taking bribes.

Jin Weizhi, who had 13 lovers when he was general manager of the State-owned Nanjing Dairy Products Company in Jiangsu province, once said that he thought it was common among officials to have lovers as "how many women you might have depends on how powerful you are" and "they are a symbol of your status, or others will look down upon you."

Yang Hongshan, professor of public administration school of Renmin University of China in Beijing, said the practice of extramarital affairs reveals problems with the country's supervisory system.

Other rules in Meishan's new regulations bans officials from sleeping or talking during meetings. They are also banned from being late or absent from meetings without permission and taking phone calls in meetings.

If an official is found to have broken the rules more than once, the government will tell local media and the person will be fined 1,000 Yuan (146 dollars). For those who break the rules more than twice, the official's department will be disqualified from yearly evaluation, an activity to reward departments with evaluations.