Explicit details of the private life of Chinese-American investor and social media celebrity Charles Xue have emerged along with a video showing him admitting an addiction to prostitutes.
In the latest twist to China’s crackdown on internet celebrities and so-called “rumour mongers, Beijing police on Wednesday released more details regarding the arrest of Xue, better known for his online alias "Xue Manzi". Xue was detained in Beijing last week for his suspected involvement with prostitutes.
Video footage shows Xue answering the door of an apartment, where he was allegedly caught having sex with a prostitute, surnamed Zhang, when police went there last Friday. He is later seen in a Chinese jail wearing an inmate’s suit and being escorted by guards. By the end of the clip, Xue confessed to having sex with a prostitute named “A Yun.”
“I was addicted [to prostitution], ” Xue is heard saying in the recording.
Police also accused Xue of being involved in “assembling the public to engage in promiscuous sex,” after new evidence showed Xue had sex with more than 10 prostitutes and on several occasions paid several of them to participate in orgies.
Liu Lin, a Beijing lawyer told China’s Legal Times the silver-haired Xue could face up to five years in jail if convicted of “assembling the public to engage in promiscuous sex”. In China, this is an offence which involves a person having sex with more than three other people.
Despite speculation that Xue’s arrest had been staged by the Communist Party to silence its critics, Beijing police insisted they were tipped off by alarmed neighbours. Zhang Xiaoguang, a police spokesman, told the Chinese media 27 people had been detained in a series of operations which led to Xue’s arrest.
Xue had acted arrogantly and initially refused to talk to police - claiming he was an American citizen and would only talk to his lawyer, according to media reports. At first, he also lied to police, claiming he was a “friend” of the woman, and had given her 1,500 yuan because she sprained her ankle, the reports said.
Yet Xue seemed to have “softened” later into the investigation, admitting to police he had picked up his “bad habit” while living overseas. He had particularly “indulged” himself in recent years after realising he was older and should just “seize the day,” police said.
Media reports also emphasised Xue’s preference for “younger and slimmer” women and his tendency to delay paying them.
People’s Daily, the mouthpiece of the Chinese Communist Party, ran an editorial on Thursday, entitled “Internet celebrities should guard the bottom line among all others.” It urged opinion leaders to “act consistently with their own words”.
Along with other outspoken public figures, such as internet entrepreneur Kai-fu Lee, economist Mao Yushi, venture capitalist Wang Gongquan and lawyer Pu Zhiqiang, Xue is routinely branded by online conservatives, and sometimes official newspapers like the Global Times, as "slaves of hostile Western forces". They are frequently accused of seeking to undermine the rule of the Communist Party by calling for political reform.