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The 181 pictures were uploaded to Weibo, China's equivalent of Twitter on Aug 8, and have since gone viral.
The raunchy shots showed three men and two women, naked or scantily clad, engaging in sex acts in what seemed to be a swingers party in a hotel room. It is not known when the pictures were taken, but Chinese media reports say they were shot in 2008.
The people in the pictures were seen grinning in group shots, including one where a man fondled the breasts of the woman in front of him.
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Earlier this week, a Weibo user claimed that the people in the photos were top officials in Lujiang county in Anhui province.
The user said he saw the photos on a website and suggested that one of the men was Mr Wang Minsheng, secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) in Lujiang county. He also speculated that another man was Mr Wang's second-in-command, Mr Jiang Dabin.
This led to Mr Wang being accused of leading the "sex party", and his picture being posted alongside the images for comparison.
The People's Daily, official newspaper of the CPC, reported that Lujiang authorities denied that the people in the photos were local government officials.
The publicity department of the Lujiang county committee of the CPC also called the linking of the salacious pictures to the officials a "malicious slander".
A spokesman said: "At first, we suspected the photo was modified in Photoshop, but later we found the original source."
A statement posted on the county's official Weibo account warned that those behind the alleged smear campaign would be held responsible.
It gave a weblink, allegedly the source of the pictures, describing them as group sex among three couples in southwestern Kunming, in Yunnan province.
Mr Wang Minsheng told the People's Daily that he was being blackmailed in connection with a corruption case being investigated in his county.
China Daily reported that a university official and his wife were dismissed after they were recognised in the picture.
Mr Wang Yu, vice-secretary of the Chinese Communist Youth League committee of Hefei University, was sacked and lost his party membership. His wife, a school teacher, received the same punishment.
To add to the controversy, the Weibo user gave an online apology to Mr Wang Minsheng on Thursday. A Lujiang police spokesman said a report was made on Thursday and the case is under investigation.
Orgies are technically illegal in China, and suspects can be jailed up to five years under a "group licentiousness" statute added to the criminal code in 1997.