Sex Scandal Sentence in China Show Tougher Times in China

Former Chinese official at the centre of a sex tape scandal was convicted of taking more than 3.1 million yuan ($640,000) in bribes and sentenced to 13 years in prison yesterday.

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Lei Zhengfu, former party chief of a district in the south-central metropolis of Chongqing, did not say whether he would appeal against the verdict, state media said. The punishment also includes confiscation of personal assets of 300,000 yuan.

Lei’s case has riveted the public since video clips went viral of the portly 55-year-old having sex with a woman hired by property developers, allegedly in an elaborate extortion scheme. The scandal has exposed in lurid detail the shady intertwining of sex, money and power in Chinese society.

Beijing Institute of Technology law professor Xu Xin said the sentence was more severe than earlier corruption cases involving similar bribes.

“Maybe because of the case’s social impact, the court has chosen to be on the harsh end with its sentence,” he said.

Lei asked another property developer who had benefited from his patronage to pay hush money of 3 million yuan to the blackmailers. Lei argued that the money was a loan, but prosecutors said the money which was not fully repaid amounted to a bribe. Prosecutors also said Lei took two other bribes of 60,000 and 100,000 yuan in return for favours through his government position.

But it is Lei’s sex scandal and the scheme behind it that have captivated the Chinese public, who are disgusted by what they see as the moral degradation of those in power.

Verdicts were to come against the woman and men behind the alleged extortion scheme. former Chinese official at the centre of a sex tape scandal was convicted of taking more than 3.1 million yuan ($640,000) in bribes and sentenced to 13 years in prison yesterday, at a time when China’s new generation of leadership has vowed to crack down on widespread graft.

Lei Zhengfu, former party chief of a district in the south-central metropolis of Chongqing, did not say whether he would appeal against the verdict, state media said. The punishment also includes confiscation of personal assets of 300,000 yuan.

Lei’s case has riveted the public since video clips went viral of the portly 55-year-old having sex with a woman hired by property developers, allegedly in an elaborate extortion scheme. The scandal has exposed in lurid detail the shady intertwining of sex, money and power in Chinese society.

Beijing Institute of Technology law professor Xu Xin said the sentence was more severe than earlier corruption cases involving similar bribes.

“Maybe because of the case’s social impact, the court has chosen to be on the harsh end with its sentence,” he said.

Lei asked another property developer who had benefited from his patronage to pay hush money of 3 million yuan to the blackmailers. Lei argued that the money was a loan, but prosecutors said the money which was not fully repaid amounted to a bribe. Prosecutors also said Lei took two other bribes of 60,000 and 100,000 yuan in return for favours through his government position.

But it is Lei’s sex scandal and the scheme behind it that have captivated the Chinese public, who are disgusted by what they see as the moral degradation of those in power.

Verdicts were to come against the woman and men behind the alleged extortion scheme. former Chinese official at the centre of a sex tape scandal was convicted of taking more than 3.1 million yuan ($640,000) in bribes and sentenced to 13 years in prison yesterday, at a time when China’s new generation of leadership has vowed to crack down on widespread graft.

Lei Zhengfu, former party chief of a district in the south-central metropolis of Chongqing, did not say whether he would appeal against the verdict, state media said. The punishment also includes confiscation of personal assets of 300,000 yuan.

Lei’s case has riveted the public since video clips went viral of the portly 55-year-old having sex with a woman hired by property developers, allegedly in an elaborate extortion scheme. The scandal has exposed in lurid detail the shady intertwining of sex, money and power in Chinese society.

Beijing Institute of Technology law professor Xu Xin said the sentence was more severe than earlier corruption cases involving similar bribes.

“Maybe because of the case’s social impact, the court has chosen to be on the harsh end with its sentence,” he said.

Lei asked another property developer who had benefited from his patronage to pay hush money of 3 million yuan to the blackmailers. Lei argued that the money was a loan, but prosecutors said the money which was not fully repaid amounted to a bribe. Prosecutors also said Lei took two other bribes of 60,000 and 100,000 yuan in return for favours through his government position.

But it is Lei’s sex scandal and the scheme behind it that have captivated the Chinese public, who are disgusted by what they see as the moral degradation of those in power.

Verdicts were to come against the woman and men behind the alleged extortion scheme.

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