Yi Junqing, a senior Chinese official, has lost his job, state media said on Thursday, after a jilted mistress detailed their alleged affair in an online essay topping 100,000 written characters.
The fall of Yi Junqing, who had a rank equivalent to vice minister, comes as the ruling Communist Party’s new leaders have declared war on corruption and state media has exposed a raft of sex and other scandals.
Yi, who headed the party’s compilation and translation bureau and allegedly had an affair with a researcher, “has been removed from his post for ‘improper lifestyle’”, the Xinhua news agency said, citing unidentified authorities.
Unlike in other cases, Xinhua did not provide details of the impropriety.
The account by the alleged mistress Chang Yan could be seen on overseas websites but had been deleted from Chinese sites. An apology signed by her was posted instead on the domestic websites.
“In my spare time I put together a work of fiction,” it read.
“I suffered serious depression... and regularly sank into a state of delusion and even fantasy,” it continued, citing severe work pressure.
Since taking charge last November, China’s leaders for the next decade have stressed that corruption is a scourge, with party chief Xi Jinping saying it could “kill the party”.
But analysts say top-to-bottom reform remains distant.
A motley parade of lower-level officials has been shamed in domestic media, with one facing investigation for allegedly keeping twins as mistresses and another sacked after a sex video with his mistress spread online.
Several senior officials have also come under investigation, including the vice party chief of the southwestern province of Sichuan and a former deputy mayor of the manufacturing hub of Shenzhen, a city bordering Hong Kong.
But the breadth and depth of the campaign are still unclear, even as corruption threatens the ruling party’s claim to legitimacy.
A Pew Research Centre survey late last year found that 50 per cent of Chinese considered official graft a very major problem.