A group photo posted on the Chinese social networking site Weibo.
 
A Chinese Internet user recently published of nearly 200 photos showing men and women taking part in what appears to be an orgy. He claimed the men in the photos were prominent politicians affiliated with China’s ruling party. The photos quickly went viral, and the story took a series of bizarre twists and turns.
 
As he was surfing on the Chinese social networking site Weibo, the Internet user in question came across photos showing three men and three young women enjoying the pleasures of the flesh. At first, he didn’t think much of it. But then, as he later wrote online, he recognised two of the men as local political leaders. They were, he claimed, Wang Minsheng, the ruling party’s leader for Lujiang district (which has a population of over a million), located in Anhui province; and his deputy, Jiang Dabin.
 
On August 8, in order to prove that these were the men, he reposted the photos along with other photos showing these politicians carrying out their normal duties. The photos then spread like wildfire online. Internet users recognised the third man in the photos as being Wang Yu, one of the party's youth leaders at Hefei University. Many online commentators found these images quite ironic given that the Chinese authorities have made cracking down on pornography a priority.
  
                                          These photos went viral on the Chinese social networking site Weibo.
 
Two of the accused men quickly spoke out to clear their names. On August 9, Wang Minsheng said he was being framed and these photos were nothing but montages made by enemies of his. Jiang Dabin, his deputy, gave the same defence.
 
On the same day, an Internet user who purported to be the same person who first accused the men on Weibo posted a message on the online forum Baidu Tieba explaining that he was mistaken about their identity: “When I was surfing on Weibo, I thought I recognised the party secretary for Luijang district in a series of pornographic photos. But it turned out I was wrong. I did not realise at the time that this could have such serious consequences, so I would like to offer my most sincere apologies.”
  
 
However, Wang Yu, the third alleged orgy participant, admitted to having posed in these photos. On August 10, he explained that one of the women in the photos was none other than his wife, who teaches at a high school in Hefei. Three days later, the local authorities released a statement saying that following these revelations, Wang Yu and his wife had had their party membership revoked.
 
On August 13, Hefei University published a statement on its website encouraging members of the Communist Party to engage in “self-discipline”, without naming Wang Yu or directly referencing the sex scandal.
 
Meanwhile, this scandal continues to stir up debate online. Many of the comments are indignant, like this one:
 
“How can teachers put themselves in such situations?”, this man asks. “I hope this is only an isolated incident and that other teachers do not behave this way, or this could affect the quality of public service in our country.”