21 officials sentenced over sex scandal in Chongqing

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 08 May, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 03 August, 2013, 9:40am

The Chongqing Communist Party's disciplinary commission has endorsed penalties for dozens of city officials linked to a sex and corruption scandal.

Xinhua reported yesterday that 21 officials, including Lei Zhengfu, former party chief of Beibei district, have been sentenced.

The long-awaited decision shows the government in Chongqing was forced to make the decision
Zhu Ruifeng

Lei, filmed having sex with a woman hired by developers seeking favours in bids for construction projects, will be dismissed from the party.

The sex scandal erupted in November when whistle-blower Zhu Ruifeng uploaded screenshots from video footage showing Lei, 57, having sex with an 18-year-old woman.

Lei was fired within days of the footage going viral online, and at least 10 more government officials and executives from state-owned companies have been dismissed for appearing in other secretly filmed sex videos.

"The long-awaited decision shows the government in Chongqing was forced to make the decision by the weight of public opinion," Zhu said. "The government was papering over the problems and did not want to release information immediately and transparently."

Xinhua said the case of another official implicated in the sex tape scandal, Nanan district party secretary Xia Zeliang, would be handled separately.

Xia allegedly provided the poison that Gu Kailai , the wife of former Chongqing party chief Bo Xilai , used to murder British businessman Neil Heywood in November 2011 and offered her other assistance. Bo allegedly helped cover up the sex scandal.

Xinhua said another district-level official, Han Shuming, was being investigated for suspected economic crimes.

A further 18 unnamed officials would receive different party punishments, including serious warnings.

Mainland media reported on Friday that the woman who appeared in Lei's sex tape, Zhao Hongxia , had been arrested and charged with extortion.

The newly installed leadership has repeatedly pledged to tackle corruption. But whistle-blower Zhu said it was still difficult for the public to supervise officials.

A television show about his work that was supposed to air in Shanghai recently was pulled after national security authorities issued a gag order.