The Chinese Casanova

Han Feng, 52, is a man of unremarkable appearance, but he has a prodigious libido – and a diary

Mark O’Neill
21 March 2010

This year my sex life has reached a new level. In the future, I must go on making love to women until I am old. I must continue love-making with Miss Pan and Miss Mo and regularly with Miss Tan. 2007 has really been the luckiest year of my love life. With so many women, you must take care of your body.”

So reads the diary for December 31, 2007, of Han Feng, a senior official of the State Tobacco Monopoly (STM). Unknown a month ago, Han has become one of the most famous people in China after his intimate diary was posted online. Tens of thousands of people have read with fascination this inside look at the life of a senior official; they have responded with disgust, condemnation and humour.

Han wrote the 500-page diary between January 2007 and June 2008, when he was head of the STM bureau in Laibin, a city of 2.3 million people famous for sugar cane and barite, in the southern region of Guangxi. The diary describes his professional and love life, his drinking binges, hobbies and family and the gifts he received – bribes totalling 482,000 yuan (HK$5407,055) and an apartment worth 300,000 yuan.

The accounts of his love life leave nothing to the imagination, with details of his six girlfriends and their performance between the sheets. Such an intimate public portrait of an official, with real names, dates and places, is rare, especially the sexual details which are unusually discussed in public in Chinese society, even in novels and poems.

Han is paying a heavy price. He was fired from the STM and expelled from the Communist Party; on March 13, he was arrested and a day later placed under formal investigation. All the six lovers have disappeared. The principal one, Miss Tam, was driving to Nanning, the capital of Guangxi, to give her version of events to the media when the government stopped her car and took her away for investigation.

Han, 53, is a native of Qinzhou in Guangxi, who studied Chinese at a university in Guangxi and married one of his classmates; they have a daughter who has graduated from university. He entered the STM in 1997 and was appointed head of its Laibin bureau in 2003.

Readers of The Erotic Diary, as the media has dubbed it, see a photo of Han and find it hard to match the face with the content – an unremarkable, middle-aged man with receding hair, a small moustache and glasses.

His favourite bedmate was a colleague named Miss Tan. She was to go down the aisle on September 29, 2007. “She is getting married on the 29th, so she wanted to come for a final fling,” he wrote on September 26. “In the evening went to the Guo Da (hotel) and booked a room. She came at 10. She is too hot! We made love at midnight and then again in the morning.” The wedding was no obstacle to their relationship. On October 10, he wrote: “I went to the Guo Da at 11pm and Miss Tan came for another night …” On the night of November 6, she drove him to her apartment and they made love three times. The next evening he gave a talk on “good manners and etiquette” to civil servants.

Miss Tan is insatiable. “Friends came for lunch. I drank a lot of wine and slept in the afternoon,” reads a later entry. “In the evening, Miss Tan came. The next morning, she left. I was exhausted and went to the office in the afternoon.” One night she was so passionate that he did not sleep at all and caught a fever.

Exposed as a cuckold, the husband of Miss Tan responded by posting an angry message on the internet: “This is a very bad thing. It was not love, it was just sex. Han had many women. I cannot understand how my wife would fall for this wretched man in his 50s. She made love to him not once but many times. In early 2009, he left Laibin and was sent to the regional capital Nanning. If not, I would strangle him. The STM is famous for its corruption and immorality.

“I hope to expose him, so that he is completely discredited and he knows what it is like for his wife and child to leave him.”

In total, Han had six lovers, four of them colleagues or subordinates. Miss Tan was the one who gave him the most pleasure. Miss Pan was harder to lure between the sheets but a tigress when she got there. Miss Yang, a high official in the provincial tobacco study association, always demanded things; she pestered him with short messages and became a headache. Miss Peng was an early lover, with him for 18 months.

With mistresses in China – as elsewhere – there is no free lunch. The diary records his gifts to them – 40,000 yuan for Miss Peng, mobile phones and cameras for Miss Pan and MP4s, mobiles and other items for the rest.

Another feature of the diary is heavy drinking, both wine and spirits, an essential part of business and official life in China. As the head of the STM bureau in Laibin and later head of the law and policy bureau and sales department at regional head office in Nanning, Han had to do a great deal of entertaining and be entertained. He drinks both in the evening and at lunchtime, which is often followed by a long nap.

The diary also records the bribes he received; the entry for September 16, 2007, records that he was invited to lunch and his host gave him two bottles of Mao Tai liquor and 50,000 yuan, of which he put 30,000 in the bank and took the rest home.

The STM is one of the biggest and most powerful companies in China. It has a 32 per cent share of the global tobacco market and a 98 per cent share of its home market. It pays more in taxes to the government than any other industry. It is rich and a monopoly, giving officials like Han money, power and privilege – and attraction to women who want some of it.

The diary also records his family life – shopping trips with his wife and eating dumplings with her, buying a Hewlett Packard computer for his daughter and enjoying Formula One and DVDs on television. Han loves telecom gadgets, which he likes to buy and talk about.

What is unclear is how the diary was stolen from Han’s computer and posted on the internet. The police in Laibin are working on three possibilities – the husband of one of the lovers, Han’s own wife or a rival in the STM who wanted his coveted position as chief of the sales department.

The diary’s publication has wide ramifications and not only for Han. The six lovers have disappeared from public view and will probably have to move home and job. His colleagues at the STM in Laibin and Nanning are ashamed and embarrassed at how they are portrayed; the diary has confirmed a view widely held among the public that officials of state companies are corrupt, lascivious and alcoholic. The publication of the diary has provoked an intense debate among Web users. Many condemn Han for his infidelity, drinking and bribe-taking. One conducted an online survey and some replied that he was a “good cadre” who should keep his job and not be punished.

They argued that the money he received in bribes was modest, he had only one long-term mistress, Miss Tan, and the gifts he gave his lovers were relatively cheap, like mobile phones and other electronic items. Also he did not give them career benefits and continued his job in a professional manner, they said.

A main cause of bribery is demands by mistresses for brand name goods, imported cars and apartments, which force their lovers to take more and more money at the expense of their professional integrity. Opponents argued that Han is a bad model. “If he is considered a good cadre, does this mean that everyone has no bottom line?” wrote one. Another said: “When we have to praise an official as not being so bad, is it not a real tragedy for our nation?”

Some praised the internet as a tool to fight corruption, while others focused on the issue of invasion of privacy, saying that such a trial by internet made a mockery of justice. For others, it was an opportunity for sarcasm. “Chief Han did not care that he was over 50. He could do it at lunchtime, in the evening, in the middle of the night or the early morning. The bodies of most people do not have such energy – no wonder our leaders are made of special material,” wrote one. And another: “My professor of criminal law at university taught us that, from a legal point of view, writing a diary is a very dangerous habit. When I see Han’s diary exposed, I realise how right my professor was.”

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