In December 2010, numerous websites and forums in China ran a post about Shang Hao (尚皓), the boss of a state-owned enterprise in Shenyang who apparently lives a life of luxury despite the fact that the enterprise is seriously in arrears on tax payments. The post said Shang had set up his office in a local spa, spending around 8,000 yuan a month on relaxing baths and other services. Responding to the allegations, Shang told Chinese media ambiguously: “There were extenuating circumstances at the time, and I didn’t dare talk about matters in the office.” Shang has been dubbed “Bathing Shang” by Chinese web users. In the following cartoon, posted by artist Chen Chunming (陈春鸣) to his QQ blog, a blissful bather lounges naked in a tub labelled “bathhouse” as he drinks a glass of wine and sets fire to RMB bills. The imperial official’s cap atop the bather’s head reminds us that the SOE boss is also part of the official bureaucracy.

David Bandurski

CMP Director

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