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The Bo Xilai Saga Goes James Bond

The Bo Xilai saga continues: The latest news concerns the mysterious death of a British businessman with close ties to Bo, the former high-ranking Communist party official from Chongqing who was purged earlier this month. The businessman, Neil Haywood, had known Bo since the early 1990s, and they were said to be close friends.

According to the Financial Times, “Chongqing police quickly ruled Mr Heywood’s death was caused by ‘excessive alcohol consumption’ and had the body cremated, but people who knew Mr Heywood say he was not a heavy drinker.” The British Embassy has asked China to reopen the investigation into Heywood’s death after concerns were raised by the British community living in Beijing.

A spokesman for the Bo family denied reports that Heywood had been involved in a business dispute with Bo’s wife. The spokesman also questioned the timing of the UK request, suggesting it could be politically motivated. Heywood died in November, and the request was issued only after Bo was removed from his post as Party chief on March 14. Indeed, the FT noted that “family members had been content with how the Chinese authorities had handled the case at that time.”

The rumor mills in China are spinning overtime, as speculation about western involvement and American plots swirls in the absence of hard news or credible journalistic outlets. Where little is known, anything seems possible, and the news of British connection will only heighten public interest in the most gripping political spectacle in China in 20 years.

If China had hoped to showcase a quiet, orderly transition of power following the political purge, those hopes had already been dashed. Heywood’s death adds further intrigue—and international scrutiny—to an already charged atmosphere in Beijing. This is not the script that China had in mind for its political transition.

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  • dan berg

    http://www.imf.org/external/pubs/cat/longres.aspx?sk=25799.0; sorry to be off topic, but I wanted to bring this to your attention.

  • Kris

    Luke? They hired you as an intern? :-)

  • Chen

    Political transition in China ? Tell me about it.

  • http://facingzionwards.blogspot.com/ Luke Lea

    @ Kris “Luke? They hired you as an intern?”

    You talking about me? I get most of my information nowadays from The Epoch Times. Here’s a good background story:

    http://www.theepochtimes.com/n2/china-news/zhou-yongkang-lost-power-struggle-say-chinese-netizens-209107.html

  • http://facingzionwards.blogspot.com/ Luke Lea

    The Epoch Times btw is put out by the Falun Gong religious group which is being persecuted in China. I know nothing about them except that they would be a part of what we here in the United States would call our civil society: those intermediate, independent voluntary associations that lie between the individual and the state. There is no civil society in China. Nada. Zip. Is this not the very definition of a totalitarian society?

    Why are we trading with them, building them up as an economic and military power, creating a monster perhaps? So private corporations can make more money? To whip America’s working class into line? Bankrupt our blue model?

  • http://facingzionwards.blogspot.com/ Luke Lea

    Make that an economic and military super-power.

  • http://facingzionwards.blogspot.com/ Luke Lea

    With China numbers swamp everything. I read that the other day. We need to keep it in mind.

  • Kris

    Luke@4: “You talking about me?”

    Yep. A little joke, given the relatively negative portrayal of China in the original post.

    I occasionally read the Epoch Times. I’m not enough of a China connoisseur to judge their accuracy, but one obviously would expect a certain bias from the Falun Gong. Not that I disagree with them or you on the Party’s morality (snicker).

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