Mayor with Luxury Watches Arouses Controversy Online
   2012-12-05 18:08:11      Web Editor: Yangyang

Yuan Zhanting, mayor of Lanzhou city, capital of Gansu Province in northwest China. [Photo:]

An investigation of the mayor of Lanzhou is underway in northwest China's Gansu Province after a blogger posted online pictures of the official wearing at least five luxury watches, Xinhua News Agency reports.

Zhou Lubao, a blogger on China's popular Sina Weibo micro-blogging service, who is also a column writer and former reporter with the Lanzhou military, said Mayor Yuan Zhanting of Lanzhou was seen wearing various luxury watches, including a Vacheron Constantin watch that costs more than 200,000 yuan (US$31,800), an Omega watch with diamonds worth at least 150,000 yuan (US$23,900), a gold Rolex, a Rado and another unidentified watch.

Officials at the Gansu discipline inspection and supervision departments said they had not seen the related information online. Because Yuan is the mayor of a provincial capital, the Gansu Provincial Party Committee had to approve the investigation.

Yuan told Xinhua that Gansu Province was dealing with the case, and then hung up the phone, according to the report.

The total value of Yuan's watches may be higher than those of Yang Dacai, another official who appeared in photos wearing several luxury watches, which were forwarded on Weibo. Yang was later sacked following an investigation, according to Zhou, who had consulted a watch expert to whom he showed the photos of Yang wearing his watches.

Zhou said after he released the message online on Sunday, he had received many phone calls from unspecified people in Beijing, Shanghai, Lanzhou and Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region, pleading with him to reconsider his action and offering to satisfy any requirements he had.

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