NANJING city government has issued a regulation requiring public officials to report their extramarital affairs in a controversial bid to curb corruption.
According to marriage law experts, 95% of Chinas convicted corrupt officials had mistresses.
In south Chinas prosperous cities of Shenzhen, Guangzhou and Zhuhai, for instance, every official involved in the 102 corruption cases investigated during 1999 were found to be having affairs.
In addition, one of Chinas most notorious corruption cases involved an illicit affair. Cheng Kejie, former vice-chairman of the National Peoples Congress Standing Committee, and mistress Li Ping were convicted of conspiring to take more than 40 million yuan (RM18.2mil) in bribes.
They planned to use the money after divorcing their spouses to marry each other.
Cheng was sentenced to death and executed in 2000.
The regulation in Nanjing, capital city of east Chinas Jiangsu Province, also gives the government permission to intervene in a relationship if an officials family stability is affected.
The measure has sparked heated debate in the Chinese legal community.
Mo Jihong, a noted researcher at the Institute of Law Science under the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said the measure violates a citizens privacy rights and Chinas marriage law, which allows everyone the freedom to marry and divorce.
Wang Lei, an associate professor at Beijing Universitys law college, argued that civil servants, especially senior ones, should not enjoy full privacy because their posts bring them great power. If they refuse to disclose appropriate personal information, the public may not trust them.
The Chinese government has increased its efforts in recent years to fight corruption.
In 2003 and last year, 29 ministerial-level officials were imprisoned for taking bribes. China Daily