Asia Briefing: China’s concubines blamed for rise in apartment prices

Painting of Tang Dynasty emperor with concubines. photograph: keren su/china span

Painting of Tang Dynasty emperor with concubines. photograph: keren su/china span


Concubines have made a real comeback in New China, and many of the country’s legions of freshly minted tycoons like to keep a young mistress, an er nai, to match the golf clubs in the back of the Porsche Cayenne.

According to a survey by state prosecutors, more than 90 per cent of the country’s most senior officials punished on serious graft charges in the past five years have involved entanglement with a mistress in some form or other.

Disgraced former Communist Party rising star Bo Xilai confessed to having a mistress, while in March, Liu Tienan, head of the Energy Bureau, was exposed by his lover after a row over money, exposing a huge fraud.

In one of the more spectacular cases, 55-year-old official Lei Zhengfu in Chongqing was exposed in a sex tape by his 18-year-old mistress, in what looks like part of a myriadic property scam. Now, the popularity of mistresses in China is even being blamed for the property bubble.

Property sales in large cities surged even higher during the “Golden Week” holiday last week, but some webizens think it is because of continuing rise in the number of er nai.

Downtown apartments
The modern concubines often come from rural China and are installed in downtown apartments by their lovers. They don’t rent.

“The rising price of apartments is all caused by mistresses. Those rich people who have a mistress won’t rent a place for her, they will buy it.

“So developers are building apartments for them, as they know they don’t care about the price. There is a direct link between rising property prices and the growth in the number of mistresses,” wrote one webizen called Happiness.

A number of private banks in Wuhan recently offered as part of their customer advice service, which traditionally includes information on studying abroad and how to get a hospital bed in a private clinic, information on how wives can prevent their husbands from taking mistresses.

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