The Municipal Government of Nanjing, capital of east China's Jiangsu Province, issued a regulation in May requiring officials to report their extramarital affairs, with a belief that the stipulation could curb corruption.
The new anti-corruption method has sparked wide debate in China.
According to Marriage Law revision expert panel statistics, 95 percent of China's convicted corrupt officials had mistresses. In south China's economic-booming cities of Shenzhen, Guangzhou and Zhuhai, all the officials involved in the 102 corruption cases investigated in 1999 had mistresses.
China's one of most notorious corruption cases also involved mistresses. Cheng Kejie, former vice-chairman of the National People's Congress (NPC) Standing Committee, and his mistress Li Ping had conspired to take a bribe worth more than 40 million yuan for their planned marriage after divorcing their spouses. Cheng was sentenced to death and was executed in 2000.
The regulation, which also give government permission to intervene in the relationship if official's family stability is affected, has sparked heated debate in Chinese legal community.
Zhuo Zeyuan, a professor in the politics and law department under the Party School of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, said the system of letting officials report marriage status will help put officials under public supervision. But the reporting should not infringe the fundamental interests of the official's spouse.
Mo Jihong, a noted researcher of the Institute of Law Science under the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences said the stipulation of letting officials reporting marriage status obviously violates citizen's privacy and China's Marriage Law, which said Chinese citizens enjoy freedom of marriage and divorce. Mo said the stipulation is not feasible; as no one is willing to voluntarily speak out their extramarital affairs.
Wang Lei, an associate professor of the law college of Beijing University, argued that civil servants, especially senior ones could not enjoy full privacy, because their posts bring them too much power. If they failed to disclose enough personal information, general public would be afraid that they are too mysterious to be supervised.
Although arguments existed, one fact is undeniable, that is, the Chinese government and academic society were more innovative than ever before in the field of creating new ways to prevent and control corruption.
Last year, a national anti-corruption research group suggested the Chinese government establish a public account for officials nationwide to return bribes, after five-year-long research on corruption prevention and control strategy.
The group held that the method could reduce cost in the fight against corruption and retrieve more illicit money.
During recent years, the Chinese government beefed up its efforts of fighting corruption. In year 2003 and 2004 respectively, 13 and 16 ministerial-level officials were imprisoned for bribe taking.
China's ruling Communist Party in 2004 published its first internal supervision regulations since 1949 to intensify the country's anti-graft campaign.
The 47-article, 10,000-word Regulations of Internal Supervision of the Communist Party of China (CPC) put all the party's 68 million members, including its leaders and top decision-making body, under rigid public supervision.