N of Us researcher Hannah Whittingham found this story of coercive power from the South China Morning Post from 12 February 2015.
Perhaps some of the most pressing current examples of the use of coercion, in this case, the potential threat of revealing sneakily gained, damaging information, can be found in China, where, wielding the “stick” in order to seize power, does not necessarily have to be literal...
Following the launch of President Xi Jinping's unprecedented anti-corruption campaign in 2012, targeting party, government, military and state-owned company officials suspected of corruption, Chinese media began to report increasing cases of political blackmail. It seems, by 2013, it had become somewhat standard practice for ambitious rivals of communist party cadres and businessmen, linked to China's political figures, to arrange the setting up of “traps”, in order to blackmail politicians over indiscretions, and to advance their own careers.
The traps include hiding cameras and other recording devices in hotels, restaurants, karaoke clubs and other venues frequented by officials across the country.
“Disgruntled underlings and peers are both likely to set up traps and record evidence of officials’ wrongdoings,” Wang Wu, a local party chief was quoted as saying.
In one case in 2013, Liang Wenyong, the party boss for Gushanzi town, in the northwestern province of Hebei, was sacked after a video went viral showing him eating an expensive meal (“sitting in front of lavish seafood items, high-priced liquor and expensive cigarettes”) and speaking disdainfully about the average Chinese citizen. Liang, and other officials present in the video received punishments.
A large number of cases, however also seem to be purely for personal gain. A number of “traps” were reported to have been set up by ambitious workers wanting to blackmail their superiors to gain promotion, or get their superiors fired so they could ascend the the job ladder themselves.
In one such case, three Hunan officials secretly set up a camera near the water dispenser of their boss, Hua Jiawu, the party chief of Mayang Miao Autonomous County Committee, catching a number of sensitive conversations.
In this case, the police were notified, and all those involved were sentenced to 20 months in jail for illegal wiretapping and filming.