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January 19, 2012

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Coupons boast 'wife' eats her words

A WOMAN claiming to be a Shanghai civil servant's wife sparked huge controversy online after she boasted of food coupons worth several thousand yuan she said her husband received from the government as gifts.

But as public anger grew and questions were raised about the kind of lifestyle enjoyed by those in the civil service, she then claimed she had made it all up because she was bored and apologized. She wasn't even married, she said.

"My husband has given me several thousand yuan seafood coupons, and several thousand yuan fruit and snack coupons," the 25-year-old, who called herself Lynn, posted on a popular microblog.

"The government is so awesome (hug)! It's so comfortable to be a civil servant!"

The microblog attracted the attention of more than 100,000 people.

Some microbloggers were shocked to hear about such good fortune, while others called her an "anti-corruption hero" who had "accidentally pulled her beloved husband into the mud."

One question repeatedly raised was why the taxes paid by local citizens were being spent on coupons to be issued to civil servants as gifts.

People found other parts of her microblog boasting of her husband's job.

"My husband is now always having meetings in the government offices during the sessions of the city's legislature and political advisery body. Finally I found he was a little bit busy by taking the job," was one example.

Some posters said clues from the microblog led them to believe the civil servant was a Zhang Lei, working for the Shanghai Commission of Commerce.

But a commission official said last night that no one of that name worked for it. She said there had been lots of calls from people demanding Zhang Lei be fired.

Meanwhile, it was revealed that the woman's real name was Gan Lin'na.

"It's all fake. I weaved lies about the expensive coupons online because I'm so bored," she told the Chengdu Evening News. She said many of her friends were flaunting their wealth online and she was just doing the same.

She also told the newspaper the "husband" she talked about was actually an old boyfriend, who was a civil servant, but she didn't know how much he earned or about any year-end bonus he might have got.


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