Public servants' affairs not a private matter
This week, Yangzhou, a city in Jiangsu province, issued an official circular that said an inspection has been carried out in a comprehensive and in-depth manner, after a story involving sexual misconduct of a local senior official and his female subordinate went viral online.
The issue of senior officials' misbehavior has emerged now and then in many places in recent years.
On Saturday the Communist Party of China discipline committee of Chengdu, Sichuan province, announced that two local officials in Chenghua district who had an extramarital affair had violated Party discipline and dismissal was recommended. Before that their phone chat record, which was quite candid about sex, was widely circulated on social networks.
It is a fact that extramarital affairs occur. China still upholds marital loyalty and fidelity as virtue. Such virtue is mainly maintained by moral constraints although the Civil Code states that a no-fault spouse has the right to claim compensation where divorce is caused by acts done by the other spouse such as cohabitating with another person.
What's more, the lifestyles of senior officials are not a personal matter, as it concerns the interests of the general public, as well as the image and credibility of and the Party and government. Therefore, government officials, especially Party members, must have higher requirements of their behavior.
For Party members especially Party officials, as well as the law, they should strictly follow Party discipline, which is stricter than national law. According to the Party regulations, a disciplined lifestyle is among the six main disciplines following political, organizational, integrity, the public and work disciplines.
According to rules of the Party, if charges of lifestyle misconduct are confirmed, warnings or serious warnings shall be given, and the revoking of posts within the Party shall take place if cases are serious.
Meanwhile, workplace rumors and gossip should be avoided, to protect innocent officials with integrity from being punished by mistake. Just like in the Chengdu case, an unrelated innocent district official, who had been mistakenly criticized by many in the scandal, should get his due respect and apologies.
A timely and thorough inspection is always the best tool to shield officials from false accusations.
The author is a writer with China Daily