Guandong’s Cadres Lack Health and Vigor

There’s nothing that I enjoy more than a photo of a healthy and vigorous Chinese leader demonstrating – to the nation – that China is in the hands of a vigorous and healthy man (Russia’s Vladmir Putin recently set a new standard for this sort of photography). Which makes a snarky September 7 China Daily story on Guangdong’s apparently ailing cadres all the more interesting:

The report found hypertrophy (enlargement) of the prostate was a common complaint in men, while almost 20 percent of women had breast-related problems. Thirty-four percent of all those taking the test were found to have high blood pressure, while 27 percent had fatty liver diseases.

Certain cities, it seems, are more unhealthy for cadres than others. No surprise, decadent Zhuhai is at the top of the list:

In Zhuhai, about 600 officials were found to have heart problems, following their checkups. Many of them were found to have other problems, as well, such as being overweight.

I have no idea why Xinhua would run a story like this. Perhaps the message – not so subtly sent – is that Guangdong’s notoriously independent officials had better stop enjoying themselves so much (see: corruption, mistresses). And that does seem to be the message sent by Dongguan’s top party official, whose recipe for health is a sedentary home life (not unlike Ward Cleaver‘s) interrupted by occasional upper-body workouts:

Liu Zhigeng, the secretary of the CPC of the Dongguan Committee, who is in his 50s, managed to complete 28 push-ups in one go, and got a maximum score in the test. Liu said he only goes to social activities he must attend. At other times, he stays at home with his family, reading newspapers or watching television programs. “This is the way I keep myself healthy,” he said.