Chinese official sacked, expelled from Communist Party after ex-wife’s social media attack

  • Yan Chunfeng has lost his job as deputy secretary of Guangan in Sichuan and is accused of taking bribes and using his position to seek profits for others
  • His former wife in May demanded their daughter’s kindergarten teacher ‘apologise in front of the class’ in chat room exchange widely circulated online
PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 14 November, 2018, 8:06pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 14 November, 2018, 8:06pm

A senior official in southwest China has been sacked and expelled from the Communist Party for “serious discipline violations”, after his ex-wife caused a stir on social media for demanding a kindergarten teacher apologise to “Secretary Yan’s daughter”.

Yan Chunfeng, 50, was dismissed as deputy party secretary of Guangan in Sichuan after being placed under investigation in May, the provincial disciplinary authority said on Tuesday. He is accused of accepting bribes and taking advantage of his position to seek profits for family and friends, breaking political rules and not reporting his marriage status and assets.

The investigation came a week after his former wife, Li Xiangyang, demanded that a teacher apologise to their daughter in a chat room exchange that was posted on social network WeChat and widely circulated online.

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A screenshot of the conversation shows Li telling the teacher, surnamed Chen: “You must immediately apologise to my daughter in front of all the teachers and children in this class. Otherwise, I will ask the kindergarten head to explain to me what you meant by the words you said to Secretary Yan’s daughter.”

The chat room is for teachers and parents from the Golden Apple Kindergarten in Chengdu, where Li’s daughter is enrolled.

The message from Li goes on to claim that the kindergarten had decided to fire Chen. The kindergarten teacher apparently did not reply.

Li was responding to Chen’s comment that she planned to isolate Li’s daughter or tell the other children to stay away from her during the period just before school ended every day.

“I’m really fed up,” Chen wrote in the chat room. There is no indication in the part of the exchange made public as to why the teacher would separate the children or what the problem was.

Many people on social media speculated that the “Secretary Yan” referred to was Yan Chunfeng, though this was not confirmed.

The kindergarten responded the following day, saying it would not fire the teacher, while on May 18, the Sichuan Disciplinary Committee announced it had put Yan under investigation.

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On Tuesday, the provincial disciplinary authority announced it had dismissed Yan from his government job and that he had also lost his party membership.

It said Yan had violated political rules by sending messages to “non-relevant people” that were “rightly reported to the authorities”, and that he had tried to obstruct its investigation.

The statement on the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI) website also said Yan had not reported his marriage status, real estate assets and shares to the authority as required.

Yan was also accused of taking bribes and using his position to seek profits for relatives and friends, but no further details were given.

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In an editorial on its website, the CCDI praised the Sichuan authority’s swift action on the case.

“Local discipline and inspection authorities don’t avoid or cover up hot topics in society. [They are] responding and kicking off investigations at a fast pace,” the CCDI said.