CHONGQING, Nov. 23 (Xinhua) -- A district official in southwest China's Chongqing Municipality was sacked on Friday after it was confirmed he was the man featured in a sex video exposed by microbloggers on the Internet.
Investigations by the Chongqing Municipal Committee for Discipline Inspection verified that Lei Zhengfu, secretary of the Beibei District Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC), featured in the video, which was filmed in 2007.
On Friday, Chongqing Municipal Committee of the CPC decided to remove Lei from his post and begin an investigation into the case.
Lei, 54, used to serve as vice mayor of the county-level Jiangjin City, Party chief and head of Dianjiang County, deputy Party chief of Jiulongpo District, Party chief and head of Beibei District, which are all under Chongqing, according to government information.
Ji Xuguang, a journalist, released an article on the sex video along with some screengrabs earlier this week.
"At the Spring Festival and two days after the festival in 2007, the man, who was deputy Party chief and head of Beibei District at that time, was fooling around with his 18-year-old mistress at a hotel of Chongqing," he said in the article.
Ji, who registered with his real name on China's twitter-like website of Sina Weibo, declined to comment when contacted by Xinhua.
Netizens welcomed the local government's quick response. They also believed the case is another success by Internet users as an invisible watchdog to oversee officials, in combination with disciplinary authorities.
"The joint anti-corruption efforts on the Internet and the real world have become a powerful supervisory network, leaving ill-behaved officials nowhere to hide," said a netizen called "Yufurong."
A Weibo user named "Xiaojing" said unlike netizens, who express opinions boldly and emotionally, government departments investigate cases very prudently and carefully.
"The Chongqing City [Government] has been very efficient regarding this case as it only took two days to come up with the decision to sack Lei," said "Xiaojing."
The case has left government officials with alot to contemplate. Not only do they have to watch their own behavior but it was suspected that Lei may have been blackmailed by people behind the video.
"The video was possibly recorded and leaked out because the official failed to satisfy the interests of other people," said a department-level official on condition of anonymity.
He said government officials should be disciplined and have principles, taking lessons from the Lei case.
A leader with a local university quoted the report delivered by Chinese leader Hu Jintao at the 18th CPC National Congress, which said officials should respect the rights of public supervision.
Hu said in the report on Nov. 8 that the Party should tighten intra-Party, democratic and legal supervision as well as oversight from the public to ensure that people oversee the exercise of power and that the power is exercised in a transparent way.
On the other hand, experts warned that the virtual world is also under the governance of law, and online anti-corruption acts should be legal.
"Those who falsify photos and blackmail officials for profiteering should be punished by law," said Sun Yuanming, a researcher with the city's academy of social sciences.