For those who have not been following the Bo Xilai drama unfolding with furious pace over the past month, we have some advice: you should be, as the fate of China will be defined by who is left standing at the end, which in turn will have momentous consequences for the entire Developed World. But where does one start? Luckily, Grant Williams' latest TTMYGH has one simple plot line: presenting the past, present and future of the epic power struggle between Wen Jiabao and Bo Xilai which has already claimed at least on death, and within China's top power echelon, the Politburo Standing Committee.
From Grant Williams:
This week’s edition of Things That Make You Go Hmmm..... is a little differ- ent to those that have come before it in that it is more of a murder mystery/whodunnit and focuses on the machinations behind a very significant power struggle currently raging in the shadowy world of China’s ruling party.
For those amongst you who like tales of drunken British businessmen, unexplained deaths, cya- nide poisoning, swift autopsies, mysterious polit- ical figures, Lady Macbeth-type wives and police chiefs fleeing for their lives - read on. For those of you who prefer less sensationalist tales..... well read on anyway - this one’s a doozy!
As bizarre and salacious as this story is, the implications for the immediate future of China are extremely important and, with China-watchers split between those who believe a hard landing is not only assured but imminent, and those of a more sanguine disposition, the search for clues as to the outcome will be meticulous.
The Bo Xilai story is not over. It will continue to grace the pages of the more sensationalist West- ern media outlets for months to come and you can guarantee that with every new wrinkle, ev- ery new twist and each new turn that the story takes, some extremely powerful people are be- hind the dissemination of the information that we in the West are allowed to digest.
In a first, this particular Chinese power struggle looks as though will be fought largely in the pag- es of the Western press, with just enough freedom for the Chinese microblogging universe to ensure the required information reaches those for whom it is intended.
However it pans out, one thing is for certain, the stakes are incredibly high.
The removal of Bo Xilai is widely seen as market positive by many experts as it heralds the demise of the ‘Chongqing Model’ with its echoes of the Cultural Revolution, and with a senior official in the shape of Vice Premier Zhang being quickly installed as Bo’s successor in Chongqing, the return to the more private sector-oriented ‘Guangdong Model’ looks set to be cemented in the coming months, but should the Wen faction not completely extinguish the challenge of Bo and his allies, we could be in for some major upheaval.
Full report here (pdf)