Social notworking forces reform
It is starting to look like Social Notworking is one of the key factors of removing government corruption behind the bamboo curtain. This week a citizen journalist released a sex tape of a Communist Party official and exposed a blackmail scandal. It appears that property developers were hiring women to shag communist party officials so that they could be blackmailed. Screenshots from the sex video first appeared on Sina Corp's Weibo site on Tuesday.
A district party chief in the southwestern city of Chongqing was fired after an investigation by the party's discipline watchdog confirmed that it was he who appeared in the video, the state-run Xinhua news agency said. The woman was one of many to be trained by the construction company and "given" to officials so that they were pratically forced to allow their deals to go ahead. The developer has been jailed for 15 years and the woman was held for a month.
What is important is that all this would have been unheard of in China a few years ago. The Internet is now being used as a potent weapon for fighting official corruption and abuse of power. Microblogs like Weibo, which had more than 420 million users at the end of the third quarter this year. While the net there is censored to the nines, the ruling Communist Party's is getting worried about unrest caused by public anger against abuse of power, official impunity and corruption.
But now it appears that under the weight of internet pressure, the party is actually stepping up its rhetoric against corruption. In September, another official, Yang Dacai, lost his job in the northwestern province of Shaanxi after internet users compiled photos of him wearing several luxury watches that he was unlikely to be able to afford on a civil servant's salary.
A month later, an urban management official in the southern province of Guangdong, Cai Bin, was sacked after online postings about him owning 22 homes.