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What The Bo Xilai Case Says About China

China is going through serious political turmoil the likes of which haven’t been experienced in decades, and despite the government’s best efforts, the struggle over Bo Xilai offers an opportunity for outsiders to see how China really works.

This piece (h/t to fellow TAI blogger and Twitter maestro Frank Fukuyama) offers an illuminating view of what’s going on behind the scenes. It’s an interview with Cheng Li, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, and an expert on elite Chinese politics.

As American foreign policy refocuses on the Pacific, foreign policy mavens are going to have to develop a richer and deeper understanding of Chinese politics. The Bo Xilai scandal offers a rare opportunity to do exactly that; the case is like a bolt of lightening illuminating a dark landscape and is something that serious students of world politics need to follow in depth.

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  • Anthony

    “The idea that China has a unified vision about its role in the world is misplaced. Excessive focus on nationalist voices, however loud, will do the U.S. and others no favors.” See related content at “The Diplomat” (Allen Carlson).

  • Anthony

    WRM, NBR interview with Cheng Li essentially informative and must read for anyone seriously commenting on not just Bo Xilai but CCP.

  • Jacksonian Libertarian

    What is needed in China is a change in the CCP’s institutional culture of nepotism, corruption, and stagnation. It seems to me that firing one or two guys isn’t going to significantly change anything. China is about to go through the economic crucible, and the pressures are going to grow enormous as the money stops flowing freely and people have to start dividing up a shrinking pie. In many ways the CCP can be seen as a cartel, and cartels always have problems with cheating, and backstabbing when the income starts falling. The sense of entitlement in the CCP with their arrogant princelings guarantee’s that turf wars, and conflict between coalitions will grow intense, and Bo is just the start of a larger and likely bloodier purging to which China is highly prone.

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