Monday, 13 February 2012

Feeling the Heat

Chongqing Party Chief Bo Xilai still determined to hold his ground
The intrigue continues over the Bo Xilai-Wang Lijun incident as more details slowly come out.

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper ended his successful China trip in Chongqing signing CAD$3 billion in deals, but the local media didn't run a picture of Bo with Harper at a banquet.

Instead Chongqing media published pictures of Harper with his wife Laureen hugging a panda, while a 1,500-wore piece about the Canadian prime minister's visit in detail without even mentioning Bo.

Beijing-based analyst Chen Ziming said Chongqing's media probably were instructed to limit reportage on Bo after his deputy Wang Lijun's visit to the United States consulate in Chengdu last week.

"The Wang Lijun incident has not only made Bo lose face himself, but has also brought shame to the ruling Communist Party. the central government would certainly want to make some restrictions on media reports about Bo," Chen said.

It appears that Wang reached out to the US consulate for some kind of assistance; we are not sure exactly what help he asked for and he also apparently left some incriminating documents in American hands. There are rumours Wang asked for political asylum but both sides are tight-lipped about the purpose of the visit.

And now Chongqing's mayor Huang Qifan who is also a close ally of Bo is feeling the heat after he was reportedly summoned to Beijing to explain why he led a convoy of armed police and police vehicles to besiege the US consulate in Chengdu.

Huang took the police 300 kilometres from Chongqing to the capital of Sichuan province in pursuit of Wang, who was in the consulate for a day.

Beijing will probably also ask Huang who decided to put Wang under "vacation-style treatment".

In any event Bo's hopes to ascend the political ranks of the CPC are dimming by the day. For starters his revival of revolutionary songs was a regressive move, and his aggressiveness in breaking up triad rings made him out to be much like a cowboy sheriff in the wild west. Did we mention his son drives a red Ferrari?

For the last few months there has been a rivalry between Guangdong Party Secretary Wang Yang and his counterpart Bo over whose style of governing is better. After the standoff in Wukan, Guangdong where villagers demanded they have democratic elections to choose over 100 representatives who will then put forward names for a seven-member committee, Wang compromised and let them have it. Now the Wukan villagers are very pleased to have their own way, and for Wang it demonstrated he was able to diffuse a potentially dangerous situation politically and socially.

Meanwhile this political intrigue with Wang Lijun spilling secrets about his ex-boss while involving the US government creates an even messier ordeal for Bo.

However describing Wang Lijun as undergoing "vacation-style treatment" helps Bo give the appearance that his deputy may not be in the right frame of mind and he cannot be trusted. What are supposedly Wang's medical reports have been leaked online saying he is depressed and suicidal.

Nevertheless, there are also reports that Wang was also summoned to Beijing to give his account of the situation.

So who will Beijing believe?

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