Sun, Jan 20, 2013 - Page 5 News List

Leading academic removed from post in China’s latest corruption scandal

‘LIFESTYLE ISSUES’:While no official, specific mention was made of an alleged affair’s role in the dismissal, China’s leaders are keen to be seen as tough on sleaze

AP, BEIJING

A Marxist theoretician has been removed as head of an important, but obscure Chinese Communist Party (CCP) research institute over a sex scandal as China’s new leadership moves to end the latest, embarrassing revelation of high-level sleaze.

The removal of Yi Junqing (衣俊卿) as director of the Central Compilation and Translation Bureau in Beijing, which was announced on Thursday, has been anticipated for weeks since the appearance online of a salacious account supposedly written by a female post-doctoral fellow at the bureau who was a former lover of Yi.

The 210-page document — which was briefly an Internet sensation before it was removed from the Web — chronicled the illicit relationship between Yi and Chang Yan (常艷), from December 2011 to November last year.

Chang said she bribed Yi 60,000 yuan (US$9,700) and slept with him to get her fellowship turned into a permanent position only to discover he was not going to help, and that he had other lovers.

Chang later said the writing was fictional, but many Chinese netizens believed it was real.

Yang Jinhai (楊金海), the bureau’s general secretary who appeared in Chang’s writings in his real-life role, confirmed Chang’s stint at the bureau and said the author had correctly recorded the time and place of academic meetings but that her interpretation of events was subjective.

China’s official Xinhua news agency reported on Thursday that Yi was fired for “lifestyle issues” — often a euphemism for corruption and having mistresses. Contacted by phone on Friday, Yang said that Yi’s removal was related to the online account.

Yang said that Chang has returned to Linfen, Shanxi Province, for a rest, where she was a teacher at a local university. Yang said Yi remains at the bureau though his new assignment is unclear.

Neither Yi nor Chang could be reached for comment.

Yi’s fate comes after CCP General Secretary Xi Jinping (習近平) came to power in November last year vowing to stamp out corruption and warning that the problem — if unaddressed — could destroy the party.

The scandal is reflective of how deeply embedded corruption is in the corridors of power, even in stuffy think tanks, and of the hypocrisy of professed communists.

“Corruption has the ability to spread and infect when it’s unchecked,” said He Zengke (何增科), an expert on corruption, who works for the same bureau.

He declined to talk about Yi’s case directly, saying he was speaking only in general terms.

The field of Marxism studies has become a business with competition for government funding, he said. “Some people want to seek their own interest in the name of research,” he said.

“It shows the prevalence of corruption,” Li Manchun, a professor who studies corruption at Central South University in Changsha city said. “The Central Compilation and Translation Bureau is deeply trusted and considered reliable by our party.”

Directly under the CCP’s central leadership, the center is tasked with providing Marxist theoretical support for party policies.

Yi was a delegate to the 18th National Congress, which anointed Xi and other leaders in November last year, and he had served as the public champion of the party’s theoretical righteousness.

“We are particularly aware of and confident in greater theoretical innovation of Marxism pushed by the Chinese Community Party,” Yi said days before the congress, as reported by state media. “Such theoretical innovation is not scattered but carries the cultural wisdom of a great civilization with comprehensive grasp of advanced Marxist theories,” he said.

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