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Jason Ou — Straits Times Indonesia|
A philandering Chinese official who has confessed to having affairs with dozens of women has been accused of spreading Aids, sparking panic in the county where he worked, says China’s media.
Yang Changming, 40, former deputy chief of Sansui county in south-west Guizhou province, was found to be infected with the HIV virus while detained on suspicion of taking 400,000 yuan ($63,000) in bribes.
Yang confessed to having sex with more than 30 women during his tenure, mostly school teachers and members of his staff who were willing to exchange sex for favours.
A prosecutor who gave his surname as Xu refused to confirm Yang’s HIV infection, but said: “He was promiscuous and even used prostitutes. He is infected with more than one sexually transmitted disease.”
Yang’s sex scandal has scared many in the small county, which has a population of about 10,000, according to the Yangcheng Evening News.
“This is truly frightening,” said a county official, who was not named. “We have no idea how many people have been infected.”
A worker at a local center for infectious disease control said some female teachers and civil servants had gone for Aids screening recently. A 30-year-old male barber died from Aids-related illness soon after Yang’s arrest, deepening the county-wide concern.
Officials in China’s government are notorious for their sexual indulgences, but this is the first time one has been accused of spreading Aids.
As many as 95 per cent of Chinese officials convicted of bribery have had at least one mistress, usually more, according to Professor Wu Changzhen, of China University of Political Science and Law.
“The anti-corruption mechanism is not working in some places,” said Mr Yi Yangang, a political commentator in Beijing. “It fails to deter some officials from succumbing to temptation.”
Rankings of Chinese officials with the most mistresses have also been circulated online. Topping the list was Xu Qiyao, former head of Jiangsu provincial construction department, whose “sex diary” revealed that he had an astounding 146 “er nai,” or mistresses.
He was sentenced to death in 2001 for accepting 20 million yuan in bribes, but there is no record to confirm that he was actually executed.
Many women are willing to have sexual liaisons with officials because these men usually have power and money.
One young woman divulged in an anonymous online post: “I was born in a poor village and my forefathers were all farmers ... but my ‘hubby’ gave me a savings account with 500,000 yuan, a 150 sqm urban house and a suburban villa ...’
She added that she was happy living with the senior government official, who was married with children.
The authorities’ hands appear to be tied with regard to regulating officials’ private lives. A lack of supervision is often blamed.
Some experts believe the Internet can boost public supervision of officials, though. One recent sex scandal first came to light on a microblog, where the wife of a county official disclosed her husband’s extramarital affairs.
Zhang Feng, family planning director in Guangdong province, said: “Online circulation of officials’ sex scandals reflects the public’s concerns about the government’s credibility. Such scandals are not merely moral issues.”
Indeed, people’s confidence in the government has been shaken by the incessant scandals.
“I don’t understand why today’s China has such a perverted society,” said one online comment on the Aids scare triggered by Yang.
“Who knows how many sexual predators are there in the government? Who knows how many women are involved?”