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Despite all the perks of being powerful, life as a senior government official in China isn't always easy. A day in the office is stressful for many of these busy bureaucrats.
Take fallen Chongqing top cop Wang Lijun for example. It was recently revealed in a Southern Metropolis Weekly exposé that he spent his days watching himself on television, selecting and approving photos of himself for media and designing uniforms for the police.
A self-proclaimed expert in arts and architecture, Wang juggled all this, of course, with a much-publicised anti-mafia campaign that he was so serious about that he had once considered firing a bazooka for cameras during a police raid on a gang hideout.
With the year coming to a close, government officials face bigger workloads as party superiors begin to make their annual “work inspection visits” to townships and counties.
One official in Inner Mongolia who headed propaganda works claimed that in a single day, he had to receive more than eight groups of visiting party officials and host them at the local hot spring and spa, Xinhua News reported on Thursday.
The official said he was so busy accommodating his colleagues at the spa that on one occasion, “he barely had time to change” and instead, waited in the hot spring to greet the next visitor group.
“All those coming to town are my superiors. I have no choice but to spend time with them. It improves relationships,” the poor official told Xinhua News.
The story has spread across social media and has been the subject of ridicule amongst Chinese netizens.
"Yet another case of public funds being misused...I wonder if this official will find himself in ‘hot water’ soon," wrote one user on microblogging site Sina Weibo.
"It's not easy thinking of how to waste taxpayer money nowadays...he defintely deserves a 'most dedicated civil servant' award," wrote another.
Another official in Inner Mongolia claimed to have had it worse, admitting to reporters that he had once eaten "four breakfasts in a single day".
While some officials have to deal with the tedious work of wining, dining and bathing, others have been busy dodging corruption allegations and blackmail attempts. (Read more on SCMP.com's Corruption Watch)
Remember Qi Fang? The head of the Public Security Bureau in Usu, Xinjiang, was sacked earlier this month over allegations that he had sex with a pair of sexy twins whom he had employed after he was promoted to police chief. Photos have spread across social media websites. Qi denies the allegations.
Unless they feel they have a Dominque Strauss-Khan in them, an embarrassing public sex scandal is the last thing a Chinese official wants on record. These tend to be indefinite career-killers.
The Land Resources Bureau in Xing'an county, Guangxi, has thus come up with an ingenious solution – to blur out the faces of officials like “a mosaic” on the bureau's official website. The purpose is to “avoid trouble” and prevent photos from being used for blackmail or illegal purposes, the Southern Morning News reported on Wendesday.
This came after the bureau recently received a “pornographic blackmail letter from lawless elements” demanding 200,000 yuan (HK$250,000).
The letter was enclosed with a photo of an official and a woman lying in a bed, which the bureau claims was manipulated because the image of the man appeared to be the same headshot on the official website.
Incoming president Xi Jinping has promised a list of new reforms which include a revitalised crackdown on corruption amongst officials and after a recent trip to Shenzhen, a pledge to stamp out extravagant, red carpet-style preparations for VIPs touring the country. Before he gets into office though, government officials will still see their hands full.