Zhao Hongxia's lawyer Zhang Zhiyong speaks to a reporter. (Internet photo)
Zhao Hongxia, the main woman to be publicly named in the ongoing Chongqing sex tape scandal and who was arrested on Dec. 31 last year for blackmail, has told her lawyer that she was deceived by her boss and lover Xiao Ye, a local businessman, reports our Chinese-language sister paper Want Daily.
"I was too simple and too affectionate," Zhao said, according to an interview with her lawyer Zhang Zhiyong with the Shandong-based Qilu Evening News. Zhao was first detained on Nov. 25 last year after a video surfaced on the internet of her having sex with a Chongqing district party chief named Lei Zhengfu at Xiao's direction. Lei was promptly dismissed while Zhao was arrested for fraud and blackmail on Dec. 31. Zhang was retained by Zhao's family to defend her and he met his client for the first time on Jan. 4.
Ten senior officials and managers of state-run companies in Chongqing have been dismissed after they were found to be implicated in the scandal. Xiao employed a group of women to provide sexual services to the men in return for securing lucrative construction contracts and the videos of the encounters would be used for leverage.
Zhao said she met Xiao in 2007, who lied to her by telling her he was from Hong Kong, where he owned a clothing business. Xiao told Zhao that his wife and children had died in a traffic accident. In truth, Xiao is a businessman from Chongqing and his wife, who claimed to be his cousin, also works for him.
Xiao and Zhao developed a secret relationship two months after she joined his employ. Toward the end of 2007 or at the beginning of 2008, Xiao told Zhao that he needed her help to improve the company's poor sales. Zhao said one of Xiao's male employees named Yan Peng started to groom her for her future assignment by showing her an amateur sex video and saying that the woman in the recording was his girlfriend, who was having sex with a client in order to boost the company's sales — and that he approved. "I absolutely will marry her, she is doing this to make our future life better," Yan supposedly told Zhao. Xiao's wife, who convinced Zhao that she was his cousin, also persuaded Zhao to help Xiao by seducing men and filming their sexual encounters.
Xiao told Zhao that if she recorded herself having intercourse with a man, the man would buy her a large amount of clothes. Zhao agreed and followed Xiao's instructions, including sending text messages to Xiao's marks, having dinner with them and then having sex with them while filming the encounters.
If a video was clear enough to identify the man in it, Xiao would arrange for them to have sex again and be caught in order to cut Zhao's ties to the man, or so he told her.
Zhao quit working for Xiao after she realized that he had the same arrangement with several other female employees.
Zhao believed the videos were intended to improve the company's business, Zhang said. She also believed the 40,000 yuan (US$6,420) she received from Xiao was a bonus, a reward for the increased sales she had helped bring in.
Zhang said Zhao is married with a child and that comments on the internet related to the case have caused distress to her and her family. Another lawyer based in Shanghai said that society should not ridicule Zhao as she is also a victim in the affair who was manipulated by Xiao.
Many internet users have in fact praised Zhao's role in the scandal, praising her as an "anti-corruption heroine" for helping bring down the corrupt officials.
Zhao Hongxia 趙紅霞
Xiao Ye 肖燁
Zhang Zhiyong 張智勇
Yan Peng 嚴鵬