Bo Xilai, the self proclaimed savior of China, has fallen upon hard times. In China, that truly means trouble.
Not only was Mr Bo removed from his party position, but he was kicked out of the party as well. The rumors are that he had gotten too popular and powerful. Mr Bo had cleansed Chongqing of its horrible corruption, and implemented ‘Red’ Mao’ist policies from the past.
He mandated the singing of old communist songs and rekindled a sense of pride in China’s leadership that is sourly lacking today.
The problem is that Mr. Bo had learned to much. He knew where too many skeletons were buried, and had the dirt on the upper echelon of the communist party. And in a country where up to U$800 billion per year is spent on bribes and corruption, there is quite a bit of dirt.
In China, few, if any party leaders are clean. Thus, the party feared what Mr Bo was capable of and stood for. Consequently the party took action, attacking not only Bo, but his family and associates as well.
In typical Chinese fashion, when a member of the communist party has angered the leaders, he is attacked in an attempt to discredit him before the public. This was as true in the wake of the Tianenman massacre in 1989 as it is today (1).
Up until February of this year, Mr Bo was heralded for his work in Chongqing and his ability to weed corruption out at the roots. His ‘Chongqing Model’ was studied by communist cadres and held up as a model for all to follow.
But then an interesting thing happened, Bo became overly aggressive and supposedly was not happy with a number two or three spot within the party, he wanted it all. The recent attempted coup in Beijing was the result of his ambition.
Since then, it has been all bad news for Bo.
Discrediting Bo Xilai
After holding Bo up in such high esteem for so many years, the party was in a quandary as how they could discredit the man. It’s hard to go from saying that Mr Bo stood for the good of China one day and then ostracize him the next. But the party feared Bo and thus went on the offensive.
Originally, the party claimed that Mr Bo was dirty (2). This from a country where 90% of the party members are allegedly corrupt.
These claims, however, pale in comparison to the latest dirt dug up on Mr Bo. According to the rumor mill, Mr Bo was responsible for the deaths of at least six people while working in Dalian (3), and is implicated in the death of English businessman Neil Heywood, or is that another rumor?
Rumors are a dime a dozen in China nowadays. Rumor is that it was not Bo, but his wife Gu Kailai, a Chinese lawyer who wrote a book about bringing successful lawsuits in the USA, who had a hand in the death of the Englishman (4).
Another rumor is that Ms Gu was overbearing, and after a protracted affair with Mr Heywood, demanded he swear unending loyalty to her and her clan (5) and give up his personal life. When he failed to do so, Ms Gu allegedly had him killed.
Or is this just another crazy rumor?
Other ‘sources’ claim it was Mr Bo, in a fit of jealousy who ordered Mr Heywood’s death. According to Xia Deliang, he prepared the injection that allegedly killed the Englishman. This murder, Xia contends, and a payment of five million dollars, earned him a high level spot in the Chongqing communist party bureau.
As for the reality behind the demise of Mr Heywood, no one is really sure what happened. After his death, Mr Heywood’s body was cremated, precluding a meaningful investigation as to the circumstances of his passing.
What’s the Important Part of the Story?
The western and Chinese press are having a field day with this talk of murder, deceit and corruption. They also point out the alleged misdeeds of Mr Bo and his family, secreting away over one billion dollars in foreign banks (6). The billion dollars, it is alleged, are now in the hands of Bo Guagua, the son of Mr Bo and Ms. Gu, who is presently studying at Harvard in the USA.
But the mainstream press just doesn’t get it. Is that the real story?
Isn’t the true story the incredible power that the members of China’s communist party wield, and what they are able to do within their country? Even if only a fraction of what they say about Bo and Gu are true, then it shows the almost demonic nature of Communist governance in China.
Think of it like this. Mr Bo was on track to be one of the top three leaders in communist China, and only when he had gotten too ‘big for his britches’, was he taken down a peg. This means that absent his overbearing behavior, the communist party would have accepted the fact that that he and his wife were a corpse away from having taken a dozen lives and had pilfered over a billion dollars from the locals (7).
Isn’t it appalling that Mr Bo was up for one of the top three spots in the Chinese hierarchy,
when he had allegedly masterminded such an evil scheme of murder and deceit? Isn’t it beyond incredible to think that this was a man who was inches away from becoming China’s next chairman, and being welcomed by the Obama administration in the coming months?
We must assume that if Mr Bo had not been so zealous in his pursuit for power, that all of his ‘foibles’ would have been tolerated and ignored.
This must be true, for the death of Mr Heywood occurred in 2011 and the deaths in Dalian, occurred over a decade ago. Surely the communist party leaders had an inkling of what Mr Bo and wife had been up to before his ouster. Or are we to believe that all of this information, the murders and the corruption, suddenly fell from the sky?
Bo Xilai Represents China’s Communist Party
The truly astounding thing is that Mr Bo represents China’s communist party.
This is the same party that heads all media outlets in China. The same party that has representatives in all major businesses and with whom our leaders meet regularly. The same communist party whose members send their children to places like Harvard and Stanford for higher education. The same communist party members who purchase housing (8) in the US and settle in as our neighbors.
Is it just me, or is it downright scary that China’s leaders wield so much power that sweeping up to a dozen deaths under the rug is no more problematic than issuing a traffic citation? If there is any truth to the allegations lodged against Mr Bo, why was he allowed to proceed so far within China’s government?
The reason is that Bo truly represents the ugly reality of the brutality of China’s communist party. What the events surrounding Mr Bo’s term with the communist party show how prevalent corruption and worse are tolerated by the members of the communist party.
During the cultural revolution of 1966-76, murder by communist cadres was rewarded (9). The brutality of the cultural revolution is beyond belief. (10)
But the noteworthy part of the cultural revolution is that all of China’s current leaders and all of China’s future leaders grew up and cut their communist teeth during this period. Mr Bo was a red guard in one of China’s most brutal factions. Mr Xi Jinping, China’s next leader, was also part of the revolution. No Chinese leaders escaped it.
So are we to be surprised if it so happens that Mr Bo is guilty of murder? After all, China’s current President and leader of the communist party earned the moniker, “The Butcher”, while working in Tibet (11).
What does one do to earn such a nickname? What skeletons does Mr Hu Jintao have in his closet? What secrets were swept under the rug so as not to cause him to lose face in the international community?
The Horrors Within the Communist Party in China
If a mid level party member such as Mr Bo was allowed to murder and steal billions, then what ‘indiscretions’ were the nine members of China’s standing committee, its highest power, allowed?
The amazing thing about watching the events surrounding Mr Bo unfold, is the horrors that the communist party of China is capable of today. Even if one were to assume that Bo Xilai was the only dirty party member, which is beyond belief, then why were all of his misdeeds tolerated for so long?
Why was he allowed to be in line to climb to the highest levels of the communist party? Are China’s background investigations of it’s own party members really that shabby?
But perhaps my mind has wandered. Perhaps it is too much of a stretch to implicate the entirety of the party for the deeds of one man – or is it?
If the rumors Are true, is the party guilty of sins of omission? For, if there is any truth to the claims about Mr Bo and his wife, then why did it take the fear of his rising to propel the party to act? Why would they protect a man whose family is one corpse away from a dozen murders?
But of course, we will never know the truth – all of the truth – for if China is good at one thing, it is keeping secrets….at least when it’s convenient for the Party to do so.
References & Image Credits:
(1) Zhao Zhiyang was treated in a not so dissimilar fashion in the wake of the Tianenman massacre although he was reputed to be clean and a vicar for democracy. Read Prisoner of the State: The Secret Journal of Premier Zhao Ziyang , for a clear picture of how the communist party of China operates.
(2) NY Times
(4)(5) Yahoo News
(8) USA Today
(9)(10) TSW – The Chinese Cultural Revolution