The fine residents of Dadong district, part of the city of Shenyang, in Liaoning, have had enough with their philandering officials. Civil servants are now required to adhere to certain “behavior norms,” and extramarital affairs, formerly the bread-and-butter of Chinese officialdom, are officially off the table.
Other banned behaviors include gambling, drug abuse, and “spreading rumors on the Internet,” but all of those are, to one degree or another, already illegal. A crack-down on the mistress mill certainly could be effective but—as many a gambling, drug-addled, rumor-spreading official can attest—the gulf between writing a law and enforcing it is wider than a provincial cadre’s Audi collection.
Nevertheless, for the 5,000 government employees in Dadong district, this rule means that it’s time to patch things up with the spouse, take a vow of celibacy, or break the law. We’d put our money on many officials still choosing Option #3 there, but time will tell.
Fortunately, this ban is not in effect nation-wide, where it would surely lead to the collapse of the entire Communist Party.