Authorities are using information obtained from mistresses of government officials to crack down on corruption in southern China, state media reported Thursday.

By Chinese law, government officials found to have mistresses, also known as "second wives," are automatically dismissed from their posts.

Communist Party leaders have repeatedly warned that corruption threatens the country's social and political stability. Last week, the government announced a five-year plan to combat graft.

Corruption within the party has not fallen despite several high-level arrests, including the party boss in Shanghai, Chen Liangyu, who was sentenced to 18 years in prison in April.

Chen was toppled in a scandal linked to the misuse of hundreds of millions of dollars in city pension funds, some of which were illicitly invested in dubious real estate and other projects.

He was the highest-level party official to be ousted in a decade.

Most recently, 43 officials involved in the misuse of Sichuan earthquake relieve supplies were punished, 12 of whom were removed from office.