Saturday, December 15, 2012

The Director And His Women

A 210 pages gossip had been quietly circulating on Twitter, Weibo, and Douban. The piece was written by a postdoc of the Chinese Communists Party's Central Marx, Engels, Lenin and Stalin Translation and Compilation Bureau, accusing the chief of the Bureau of extramarital affairs with the postdoc herself. As you would expect a work of heart by a trained Judicial Doctor, the 120 thousand word manuscript was completed with an index, roles, footnotes, and appendix. It is very well written. Individuals and events were documented to the utmost detail.

The plot is cliché, but not without major twists. An ambitious young female scholar dealt with her mentor using her attractive body. It is interwoven with corruption, bribery, lust, and boring politics. However, it actually started as a love story, and ended with two broken hearts.

Many insiders pity on the hero, Mr. Yi Junqing, the director the Bureau, a vice-cabinet level position. Yi, a brilliant scholar, raised as the youngest professor of Heilongjiang University, and later the President of the same school. Yi earned fame with his intelligence, as well as with his well manners and elegance of a gentleman. Yi has been followed and admired by many young scholars in the same way as a pop star. Our heroin, Dr. Chang Yan, was no exception. Chang is an accomplished scholar, an associate professor at the Shanxi Normal University.

The first encounter of the duo took place last summer when Chang applied for a postdoc position at the Bureau. A temporary visiting trainee would not have crossed paths with a senior Party leader if everything went along regular courts. Chang enticed Yi, but did not succeed until many attempts later. In addition to her body, Chang bribed Yi with money, repeatedly.

At one point, Chang felt entitled to demand something back, in particular a permanent position at the Bureau. When it did not go well, Chang demanded a monetary payback. Yi wired her RMB 1 million ($160,000). Now Chang demanded exclusive rights to Yi's body. Yi complied by expel other young female out of the Bureau. It's hard to tell from the manuscript, but Chang was agonized by something and went public in the end.

The calm, candid, and left-no-stone-unturned descriptions make this manuscript a literature of human nature, that every man and woman have to face. What was revealed in this story could not be easily dismissed as another perspective on a long existing conflict between men and women. The writing offers unprecedented insight in a manner only seen before in Les Confessions. Dr. Chang published the manuscript to defame Mr. Yi. In the process, Dr. Chang combed through her own thoughts, and provided a soul-searching self-reflection, accompanied by unfiltered daily journal and raw dump of electronic communications. There are evidently miscommunication, misunderstanding and miscalculation by both sides. Retrospective thinking, however, many of the missteps were inevitable even if everything were to restart from the beginning.

Every great drama has to end as a tragedy. Although the manuscript and any discussions must be promptly banned, but Yi's career is finished. Yi's value for the Party is to provide convincing legitimacy of the ruling. Any stain would be unbearable burden for the Party.

Update, a sequel: Evidently inspired by the Yi Junqing incident, an undergraduate student wrote about her story with a professor in Southeast University of Nanjing.

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