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'crackdown' on corruption, Chinese style

The most recent 'crackdown' on corruption was launched with great fanfare by the new administration of the Chinese president Xi Jinping. But it has gone after such easy targets as hospitality budgets, official vehicles and foreign trips, while the real muscle has gone into hunting down dissidents, whistle-blowers and journalists who might actually threaten the powerful.

As with anti-corruption campaigns of the past, mistresses make a convenient distraction. They feed the public appetite for scandal without challenging the way China's power networks operate. The popular media portrays mistresses as 'beauty attracting disaster', and speaks of their 'evil, poisonous nature', as if the poor officials would never have tasted the apple of corruption without a woman to lure them on.


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