|A general view shows delegates raising their hands as they take a vote at the closing session of 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on November 14, 2012. (REUTERS/Carlos Barria)
China's ruling Communist Party has found itself in the middle of a sex scandal involving a honey trap, blackmail and government coverups.
According to the Los Angeles Times, it started in 2007, when an 18-year-old woman seduced Communist Party member Lei Zhengfu, 36, all while surreptitiously filming the sex with a hidden camera in her purse.
She'd reportedly been hired by a construction executive who planned to use the video to blackmail his way into government contracts.
But Lei and former party member Bo Xilai — whose wife was convicted of killing a British businessman with poison — allegedly covered the whole thing up, the Times reports.
Bo reportedly had the woman and the executive arrested. Meanwhile, he's set to stand trial on his own set of sex charges, accused of having "improper sexual relations with a number of women."
But the sex tape recently resurfaced when citizen journalist Zhu Ruifeng posted it to his corruption-uncovering WikiLeaks-like website. A former cop leaked Zhu the video.
Lei has claimed the video is fake, but the Communist Party fired him three days after it went public.
Despite rocking the boat in a media-muzzled country, Zhu earned praise from the state-run press.
"Thanks to its democratic nature and incomparable efficiency and effectiveness in disseminating information, the Internet has become a popular platform where the otherwise voiceless can speak out," China Daily, the English-language state-run newspaper, said.
"Rumours about Lei's philandering and corruption have been around for years locally, but a probe had not been launched until the sex video was posted online."