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Friedman: In China, the revenge of the mistresses

  • Ji Yingnan and Fan Yue, the deputy director of policy and regulation under the State Archives Administration, pose in front of the Great Wall of China. (Courtesy of Ji Yingnan)

Every so often you read a news article so revealing that it triggers this thought: I wonder if we'll look back on that story in five years and say, “We should have seen this coming. That story was the warning sign.”

For me that article was a July 25 piece in the Washington Post about how jilted mistresses of corrupt Chinese government officials have become the country's most important whistle-blowers — turning to the Internet to expose the antics of senior bureaucrats. The Post detailed the case of a 26-year-old named Ji Yingnan, who had been engaged to wed Fan Yue — a deputy director at the State Administration of Archives — until she discovered that he had been married with a son the entire time they were together.

To get her revenge, Ji “has released hundreds of photos online that offer a rare window into the life of a Chinese central government official who — despite his modest salary — was apparently able to lavish his mistress” with no end of luxury items, The Post reported. The first time “they went shopping, Ji said, the couple went to Prada and paid $10,000 for a skirt, a purse and a scarf. A month after they met, Fan rented an apartment for them that cost $1,500 a month and spent more than $16,000 on bedsheets, home appliances, an Apple desktop and a laptop, according to Ji. Then he bought her a silver Audi A5, priced in the United States at about $40,000, she said. ... 'He put cash into my purse every day,' said Ji in a letter to the Communist Party complaining about Fan's behavior.”

It gets better. The Post reported that “a well-known Chinese blogger who has posted Ji's photos and videos on his website said he spoke with Fan last month. Fan told the blogger that he didn't spend as much money as Ji claims, saying it was less than $1.7 million but more than $500,000. 'This woman is not good. She is too greedy,' the blogger, Zhu Ruifeng, said Fan told him.”

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