This is old news by now and I’m surprised no-one here has posted anything about it so far. I thought I’d start this thread at this late stage because this thing is beginning to look like it isn’t going away anytime soon. Given the UK connection I assume most are up to date, so I’ll just post a few links without comment and see where it goes. I’m goin all WaPo simply because it’s easiest. Oldest first.
http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/...HnS_story.htmlBEIJING — Until a week ago, few Chinese had ever heard of Neil Heywood, and fewer still raised any questions when the 41-year-old British business consultant was found dead in his hotel room. Today, he is so famous — and such a sensitive topic — that China’s Internet censors have banned searches of Heywood’s Chinese name, Hai Wu De.
Such is the insatiable appetite of tens of millions of Chinese for news — no matter how tangential or speculative — about the country’s biggest political drama in two decades that “Heywood” has joined “tanks,” “military coup” and a host of other search terms now proscribed by the ruling Communist Party as it struggles to calm a national spasm of jitters.
http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/...L8S_story.htmlBEIJING — After weeks of Internet-fueled rumors suggesting fissures in the top leadership ranks, Chinese authorities struck back this weekend, closing 16 Web sites and arresting at least six people in a broad crackdown on the freewheeling world of cyberspace.
Xinhua, the official Chinese news agency, said in a dispatch late Friday that the Web sites were closed, and the unnamed individuals detained, for “fabricating or disseminating online rumors.” For the past two weeks, the Internet has been filled with rumors of an internal power struggle after the largely unexplained March 15 ouster of the popular provincial Communist Party chief Bo Xilai.
http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/...CAT_story.htmlBEIJING — Bo Xilai, the charismatic Communist Party chieftain who built a popular following and seemed destined for one of China’s top leadership jobs, was unceremoniously stripped Tuesday of his remaining party posts, and his wife was arrested on suspicion of homicide. The widening scandal involves business quarrels, a flight to an American diplomatic outpost and the alleged murder of an expatriate British businessman.
In the secretive world of Chinese elite politics, Bo’s downfall in the space of just two months has been nothing short of spectacular. As of Tuesday night, Bo — the scion of one of China’s revolutionary veterans — was the subject of an investigation for “serious discipline violations,” according to a terse official dispatch.
http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/...FAT_story.htmlCHONGQING, China — Scandal-ridden politician Bo Xilai, the most senior Chinese leader to fall from power in years, remained popular even as the machinery of the all-powerful Communist Party bore down on him.
In parks and plazas across Chongqing, the inland megacity he ran the past four years, people praised him as recently as last week for his boldness in creating jobs and busting organized crime. They dismissed any excesses as no different from those of other politicians.
http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/...zET_story.htmlBEIJING — China’s Communist Party machine sought Wednesday to stave off criticism of the ouster of disgraced politician Bo Xilai and the arrest of his wife in a murder probe, coordinating an official chorus of approval and moving to suppress Internet references to the matter.
Editorials and official commentaries in the state-run news media said the decision to dismiss the former Chongqing party chief from his remaining posts showed that the party respects the rule of law. In the capital, party members and officials announced their unanimous support for the decision, according to the Beijing News. And the evening news broadcast on state-run CCTV featured interviews with party officials, academics and ordinary people from across the country, all lauding Bo’s removal.
http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/...aFT_story.htmlBEIJING — Chinese senior military officers and commissars joined the Communist Party’s vast propaganda machine Friday in a flood of calls for unity following the purge of the disgraced politician Bo Xilai and the arrest of his wife on murder charges.
The unusual pleas from the political leadership of the People’s Liberation Army seemed designed to counter persistent rumors of splits within the ranks over Bo’s ouster, and to dampen speculation that the charismatic Bo — the son of a revolutionary hero — still has residual support in the military. But the intensity of the barrage raised as many questions as it answered.
http://www.theatlantic.com/internati...-xilai/255902/James Fallows has lived in China on and off for twenty years and will be worth reading when he has something to say.HONG KONG — With China’s propaganda apparatus in overdrive as the Communist Party demolishes the reputation of one of its former stars, a few defiant and angry fans are sticking to their guns.
“We support the Chongqing Model and Bo Xilai,” declared a call to arms posted on the Web site of the Progress Society, a pugnacious “new left” fraternity that trumpets the ousted Chongqing Party boss as a hero. Its logo features a panda wearing a Mao cap and clutching a rifle in front of a Chinese flag.
.A number of people have written in to ask why I haven't put up anything extensive, or at all, on the roiling controversy surrounding former Chongqing party boss Bo Xilai, his wife (and now murder suspect) Gu Kailai, the British businessman and apparent murder victim Neil Heywood, Bo's former police chief and "anti-corruption" ally Wang Lijun, and the rest of the cast in the drama unfolding minute by minute in Chongqing, Beijing, and elsewhere.
Is it because I consider it unimportant? Obviously on the contrary. This is the biggest political drama in China at least since the Tiananmen crackdowns of 1989, with ramifications no one can confidently predict. It's precisely because it's so important that I have not wanted to say anything until I knew something worth saying. For the moment, here is an Atlantic Wire item with leads to other stories. I will try to do a more comprehensive roundup soon, since so much good work is being done by so many analysts inside and outside China