Chinese politician caught in social media scandal


Chinese politician Xie Zhiqiang faced questions about a possible affair after using Weibo, China’s equivalent of Twitter, to set up a liaison with a woman. Above, employees of Sina Corp. work in the Weibo microblogging division at the company's headquarters in Beijing, China. (By Nelson Ching/Bloomberg)

Apparently, Xie — the married head of the Liyang City Sanitation Bureau — did not realize that the messages sent on Weibo were public, but thought it was a private messaging service, the Wall Street Journal reported.

When asked about the messages, Xie was reportedly taken aback, according to the Journal, citing a Chinese news source.

“How did you see them? They’re not visible, right?” Xie said to a reporter from China’s Modern Express, “You saw all the Weibos we sent to each other? It can’t be.”

He was suspended and is now under investigation, possibly because some of the messages referred to reimbursing the woman’s expenses, reported Asian tech blog Penn Olson, the first to report the story in English .

The incident is reminiscent of the scandal that recently led to congressman Anthony Weiner’s resignation, after Weiner apparently sent a public message over Twitter that he intended to be private.

Related stories:

#BornFreeCrew: The group who warned about Weiner

Rep. Weiner victim of attack? Security experts say it can happen easily

Weiner’s resignation becomes official at midnight Tuesday, leaves House after tweeting photos

Hayley Tsukayama covers consumer technology for The Washington Post.

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