Tarry for the Nonce

November 22, 2005

Li Xinde and Others

Filed under: News — lmwalker @ 3:38 pm

How a mistress is ever offered the distinctive title of a “second wife,” I’ll never understand:

China’s economic boom has led to a revival of the 2-millennium-old tradition of “golden canaries,” so called because, like the showcase birds, mistresses here are often pampered, housed in love nests and taken out at the pleasure of their “masters.”

Concubines were status symbols in imperial China. After the Communists took power, they sought to root out such bourgeois evils, even as Chairman Mao Tse-tung reportedly kept a harem of peasant women into his old age.

Now, mistresses have become a must-have for party officials, bureaucrats and businessmen . . .

So-called concubine villages places where lotharios keep “second wives” in comfort and seclusion are now spread across the nation, in booming cities such as Dongguan, Chengdu and Shanghai.

The local governments are responding by issuing harsh warnings to female university students and openly disgracing public officials who are caught. At the same time, it’s still rather shrouded in secrecy.

Corruption is embarrassing, you know.

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