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Chinese judges punished in prostitution scandal

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August 6, 2013 10:32 PM EST | AP

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BEIJING — Four Shanghai court officials have been stripped of their Communist Party membership and could lose their jobs after a whistleblower released video evidence suggesting they took prostitutes to hotel rooms after dining with a contractor.

The hotel surveillance video triggered an investigation, and the Shanghai Communist Party Committee said late Tuesday that the two Shanghai municipal supreme court judges and two other court officials "participated in prostitution" after being invited to dinner by a construction company manager.

The statement did not clarify whether the contractor paid for prostitutes, but party rules bar both involvement in prostitution and accepting bribes.

The case has aggravated public distrust of the court system and shed new light on continued wrongdoing despite the Chinese leadership's vow to crack down on all corruption by officials.