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Old 2012-04-16, 12:30   Link #20879
Feeling comfy
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: Singapore
Age: 43
Originally Posted by Vexx View Post
I got the impression that Bo was a poster child for the Chinese Communist equivalent of "corporatist robber barons" .... to borrow some phrasing from the new ruling members in the novel Animal Farm: "Four legs good, two legs better!"
That's the popular view and it probably isn't far off. I certainly don't buy the idea that Bo was "Maoist". More like he was just trying to burnish his credentials for top leadership. It seems however that he was an idealist when he was younger. His wife, Gu Kailai, also has a dramatic rag-to-riches story of her own. But, sadly, power corrupts.

I don't know if anyone had published a timeline of events. If not, this might be useful:
Bo's fall from grace

Feb 2 (Thu): Chongqing police chief and vice-mayor Wang Lijun, a close ally of the south-western city's leader, Mr Bo Xilai, is removed from his security post.

Feb 6 (Mon): Mr Wang flees to the United States consulate in neighbouring Chengdu, allegedly to seek political asylum. It is believed he had information related to corruption by Mr Bo's family and feared for his life. Chinese police surround the consulate.

Feb 8 (Wed): Mr Wang leaves the consulate of his own volition and is escorted to Beijing by a vice-minister of state security.

Feb 11 (Sat): Mr Bo meets visiting Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper in Chongqing, a sign that he is still politically kosher.

March 9 (Fri): Mr Bo meets the media for the first time since the scandal, and admits his "negligent supervision" of Mr Wang.

March 14 (Wed): Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao slams Chongqing leaders over the scandal in his annual press conference with local and foreign journalists in Beijing. It is a rare public rebuke in elite politics.

March 15 (Thu): Mr Bo is removed as Chongqing party secretary, but keeps his more important position as a member of the Politburo, the Chinese Communist Party's decision-making body.

March 25 (Sun): Britain asks the Chinese authorities to further investigate the death of British businessman Neil Heywood. There are rumours that he was close to the Bo family and that he was ordered poisoned by Mr Bo's wife, Ms Gu Kailai, after a business dispute.

March 31 (Sat): Chinese tycoon Xu Ming of Shide Group, a close business friend of Mr Bo, is said to have been detained on suspicion of corruption. It is believed he "disappeared" on the night of March 15, the day Mr Bo lost his Chongqing post.

April 6 (Good Friday): Mr Xu is thought to have been arrested because of irregularities in a massive land deal and alleged match-fixing in football. He bought the land via a firm registered in Chongqing in 2009.

April 10 (Tue): Mr Bo is suspended from the Communist Party's Central Committee and Politburo. His wife is named as a suspect in the murder of Mr Heywood.


I had the opportunity to attend a short session with Mike Chinoy, former CNN senior Asia correspondent, a couple of weeks ago. Being an ex-journalist, he doesn't know any more about the scandal than the public does. But he did make an interesting observation: even those in US diplomatic circles who ought to know more aren't talking. Normally, he said, there would be some tidbit or two leaked to the press. In this case, you had a close ally of Mr Bo hiding in the US consulate, and not a peep emerged from the staff about what Mr Wang revealed. Nothing, zero, nada, zilch.

That, to Chinoy, seemed highly unusual. Read into that what you will.

(By the way, Chinoy was one of the few American broadcast journalists who was present in Tiananmen on June 4, 1989. He had some terrific insights to share, one of which surprised me tremendously, because it spoke volumes about the long-lasting harm of sloppy reporting. But that's another story for another time.)

Chinoy's observation dovetails nicely with mine:
The Bo Xilai scandal has been bubbling in the background for several months now. To me, the point of interest is that it has barely been mentioned here in the News thread.
The relative absence of interest in the West over the scandal, to me, speaks volumes. Over here, it has been prime news for several weeks running, especially now that it has built up to such a titillating crescendo. In comparison, updates on the Republican primaries have long been relegated to secondary news.

That is, for several weeks now, US news has been "nice to know", not "need to know", from our Asian perspective. This is just Singapore. Hong Kong has been distracted by its scandals of late, along with its electoral debacle, while Taiwan had just recently concluded its parliamentary polls. But I would bet that they've been closely following the scandal's development as well.

Again, read into that what you will.
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