Friday, 14 September 2012

The Next Chapter in the Bo Xilai Saga

What will former police chief Wang Lijun say in his defense?
Things are going to get more interesting next week.

Gu Kailai is in prison, but now the man who betrayed her family (from her point of view), former police chief Wan Lijun will be on trial from next Tuesday -- in Chengdu.

He is charged with defection, abuse of power and bribe-taking.

This contrasts with Gu who was convicted of murdering Briton Neil Heywood, but because her defense was that she was trying to protect her son, she was given life in prison instead of the death sentence.

And her trial had no mention of bribe-taking or amassing millions that were then transported out of the country which was probably why she murdered Heywood in the first place.

In any event it'll be interesting to see what Wang looks like -- probably not as puffy-looking as Gu...

Last night I met a young hotel marketing communications woman from Chongqing.

She was friendly though quiet as most of us at the dinner spoke either Cantonese or English.

I practiced some Mandarin with her and asked her how Chongqing was doing post-Bo Xilai.

She smiled when I asked the question but her answer was not upbeat.

The woman explained that the economy had definitely slowed down since Bo was sacked from his post as Party Secretary of Chongqing in mid March.

"Tourism is still doing well, but other sectors are not so good," she said, explaining that companies did not want to invest in China's most populous city since they did not know what was going to happen next.

It seemed like Bo's strongman tactics were exactly what were needed to jump start the city's economy and it had now lost momentum with his unceremonious exit.

But it's not just Chongqing -- seems like everything's come to a grinding halt until the 18th National People's Congress -- and even that date isn't sorted out yet.

When it comes to party unity and the economy, the former trumps the latter.

It's amazing anything gets done in China...

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