INTERNET SCANDAL

Anhui couple sacked over sex orgy photos

Provincial authorities deny involvement of Anhui officials in the issue which has played out for a week

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 15 August, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 15 August, 2012, 3:16am

An official from Anhui's Hefei University and his wife, a schoolteacher, have been sacked after being linked to a sex photo scandal that has been unfolding on the internet for a week.

Quoting university authorities, Xinhua reported yesterday that Wang Yu, a deputy secretary of the university's Communist Youth League committee, had confessed to having the photos taken at an orgy in May 2007.

He denied internet speculation that the two other men in the photos were Lujiang county officials and said they were strangers.

Hefei University refused yesterday to identify the other men and two women who posed nude next to a hotel bed and did not say on what grounds Wang had been punished.

More than 180 sex photos featuring three nude men and two scantily clad women in a hotel room have been circulating over the internet since August 8. Internet users initially said that two of the men were Lujiang county officials, triggering widespread outrage online.

The county's publicity department dismissed the photos on Thursday, saying they were old ones taken at an orgy in which three Kunming couples participated that had been published via a portal based in Hunan , Cs.voc.com.cn It said the photos had been cropped in order to defame the county officials.

It later said the person who first uploaded the photos to Baidu.com had apologised for mistaking one of the men for Wang Minsheng, the county's party secretary.

Internet users then forced the university to investigate after they identified Wang Yu and his wife.

An internet commentator has questioned Wang Yu's dismissal, saying he was a victim because the photos were a private matter and that investigators should have been looking into how the photos were leaked on to the internet.

In a commentary, the Qianjiang Evening News said that the county publicity department's rush to dismiss the authenticity of the photos almost amounted to a cover-up.

The commentary said that county authorities were also wrong to threaten those posting the photos on the internet with defamation charges.

"If a case of defamation could be established, it would be up to the county party secretary, not the county authorities, to decide whether to go ahead with legal action," it said.