Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/06/21/chinese_public/
Chinese official's affair goes very public
You mean tweets aren't private?
A Chinese official and his lover decided the best place to conduct their affair was over a micro-blogging service, blissfully unaware of the public nature of tweeted messages.
The couple, both of whom are married to other people, set up micro blogging accounts and followed each other, unaware that every message was being shared with the rest of the world. At one point the Mr. Xie, who heads up a local sanitation bureau in Southern China, even asks his mistress to avoid using SMS or phone calls, and offers to claim her expenses from his office, according to messages translated by the Penn-Olson blog.
The service was Sina Weibo, one of the most popular Twitter-type services in China (where Twitter itself is blocked). It seems the pair thought the messages would be private, but instead rapidly built up a following of thousands who received notifications regarding the picking up of hotel keys and assorted terms of endearment exchanged between the two.
His Weibo account has now been closed, with a final message reading "sorry" before the account was deleted. He appears to still be in his job, but we'd imagine he's busy having his expenses re-examined with interest. The lady of the piece remains on-line having posted a message asking to be left alone, which we can't help feeling is a little optimistic these days.
It's not the first time a public figure has accidentally shared intimate secrets over a micro-blogging service. Congressman Anthony Weiner managed to share a photograph of his barely-constrained manhood with the world, but for completely failing to understand what micro blogging is it's hard to compete with the inscrutable Chinese politician. ®