21 Party officials, SOE managers disciplined

Updated: 2013-05-08 02:55

By Wang Xiaodong (China Daily)

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A total of 21 government officials and senior managers of State-owned enterprises now have been punished in connection with a sex-tape scandal last year in which they were blackmailed after their sex acts were secretly recorded.

Xinhua News Agency reported on Tuesday that those disciplined were 15 government officials and six senior managers of State-owned enterprises.

One of the 21 was Lei Zhengfu, former Party chief of Chongqing's Beibei district, who was stripped of his Party membership and removed from his post. He also faces prosecution.

An earlier Xinhua report said Lei will be prosecuted on corruption charges.

Several other mid-ranking officials in Chongqing were also transferred to judicial organs or are under investigation for corruption, Chongqing's information office said.

The Party will not tolerate any disciplinary or law violations from officials and will deal with the cases in accordance with the law, the office said.

A sex video of Lei and a young woman was posted online in November by a freelance blogger and whistle-blower, and Lei was sacked less than three days later.

Police investigations later said the scandal was planned by a criminal ring that hired women to seduce officials and then secretly recorded videos for extortion. Ten officials and managers in State-owned enterprises in Chongqing were sacked for involvement in sex videos in January.

Xiao Ye, a businessman, is accused of organizing a group to tempt officials, secretly record their sex acts and then blackmail those involved, prosecutors said.

The six people accused of blackmailing the officials also includes Zhao Hongxia, the woman who had sex with Lei on the video. She is charged with blackmail, People's Daily reported.

The six were accused of extorting Lei and another official of a total 5 million yuan ($812,000), according to the report. Lei was extorted of 3 million yuan. The name of the other official was not released.

Involvement in a sex video itself alone is not a criminal act, but Party officials can be disciplined, said Chen Tao, a lawyer and member of the Beijing Lawyers Association.

"But it can serve a clue for investigators to see whether those involved are engaged in other activities of law violation, such as sex bribery, which is possible in this case," he said.

China's new leadership is determined to fight corruption and will ensure that power will be exercised in an open and transparent fashion, Premier Li Keqiang said in an earlier news conference.

China's prosecutors handled 3,657 corruption cases and 1,481 cases involving dereliction of duty and rights violations in the first quarter of 2013, according to the Supreme People's Procuratorate.