A VERY PUBLIC AFFAIR

A Chinese official thought a $65,000 “termination contract” was the best way to let his mistress go

Obsession
China's Transition
Obsession
China's Transition

A government bureaucrat in the Chinese province of Shanxi has become the most recent example of twin issues that often plague China’s mid-sized cities and small towns: government corruption and a general ignorance of the law.

In July 2013, Guo Shuanglong, a municipal environmental protection official in China’s coal belt, tried to break off a relationship with his mistress, but found she wouldn’t go quietly. The mistress harassed Guo and his family for a full year until, last month, he had the bright idea of having both parties sign a “termination contract,” which included stipulations stating the mistress should keep her distance in return for 400,000 yuan ($65,100).

Guo failed to appreciate that not only is the existence of a contract proof of his wrongdoing, but the sum of money he offered amounts to more than three years’ salary even for China’s president, Xi Jinping. Guo could have found few more effective ways to prove his corruption, both moral and financial. Inevitably, his ex-mistress brought the contract to the Beijing News (in Chinese), which has published a story detailing the tawdry saga.

As if it isn’t incredible enough that an official would think—even for a second—that a contract like this would work, it was also co-signed by a second Shanxi bureaucrat who bore witness to the contract. No wonder the province had to call an emergency meeting this month to fill the huge number of positions left vacant by corrupt officials.

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