Three judges in Shanghai will be expelled from the Chinese Communist Party and another put on probation, authorities said Wednesday, days after accusations that they used prostitutes emerged online.
An inquiry was opened after an anonymous blogger, identified by state media only by his surname Ni, posted footage online last week alleging that five officials hired sex workers at a local resort.
It is the latest in a series of scandals over corruption and other disciplinary violations, including sexual impropriety, by Chinese officials to be revealed online by whistleblowers. Using prostitutes is illegal in China.
Shanghai's disciplinary commission said four judges and an executive at a state-owned company visited the resort last month but only four of the men patronised prostitutes.
Chen Xueming and Zhao Minghua, the chief and deputy chief judges of the Shanghai Higher People's Court No.1 Civil Tribunal will be expelled from the Communist Party, the commission said on its Twitter-like Tencent Weibo account.
Ni Zhengwen, the deputy chief of the court's own discipline inspection commission, will also be expelled from the party, it said.
Wang Guojun, deputy chief judge of the court's No.5 Civil Tribunal, did not accept prostitution services and will be put on two years' party probation.
The commission will ask the party to dismiss all four as judges.
A Shanghai Construction Group executive, Guo Xianghua, was sacked by the firm and will be expelled from the party, the commission said.
The surveillance video posted by Ni purported to show five officials including Chen and Zhao entering a luxury room after a three-hour banquet, followed by several women who stood by the door. Subtitles said that Chen allocated the prostitutes.
Ni, the informant, claimed Zhao intervened in a civil case in 2009 that caused him a huge financial loss, the state-run Global Times newspaper reported Monday.
Chinese citizens often resort to social media to reveal officials' misconduct, though their efforts are sometimes seen as a threat to social stability and cracked down on by authorities.