By Cal Widdall
The news of former CPC star Bo Xilai’s suspension has gripped China, with everyone offering their two cents (or five mao). We’ve brought you a round-up of comments.
The Wall Street Journal‘s report included the following comments regarding the story’s significance:
The scandal has ignited Beijing’s biggest political crisis since a military crackdown on pro-democracy student protesters in Tiananmen Square in 1989. It remains to be seen whether leaders can restore political stability or whether supporters and opponents of Mr. Bo will continue to battle.
The central committee’s decision to investigate Bo is “completely in accordance with our Party’s fundamental requirement of strict Party governance” and shows the Party’s “firm determination of maintaining its own purity,” according to the front page article by an unidentified editorial writer at the newspaper. “Bo has seriously violated Party discipline, causing damage to the cause and the image of the Party and state.”
The China Media Project analysed state media coverage of the scandal and came to the following conclusion:
The People’s Daily editorial is clearly marked as released by Xinhua on April 10, but was posted by a number of sites like Sohu just after midnight . The obvious implication is that all three releases — 1) on Bo Xilai’s removal and investigation, 2) on the investigation into the apparent Neil Heywood murder and 3) the People’s Daily editorial — were timed to top today’s news, precisely as they are doing.
These should be read as three separate shots fired in a single salvo by the current top leadership under, as the official releases drum home, “Comrade Hu Jintao as general secretary.”
“When the Wang Lijun case was disclosed, the government did not cover it up but initiated an investigation accordingly. This is no longer the era where China would rather cover issues up to avoid revealing problems.
The CPC’s decision against Bo highlights that nobody is above the law and discipline in China. Power abuses are not allowed no matter how superior one’s authority is. Local affairs cannot be dominated by an individual’s interests.”
Novelist Bei Cun, however, was less impressed. Translation from The Wall Street Journal:
“What does tonight change? Nothing, nothing at all,” he wrote. “Five-thousand years ago through to today, nothing has changed. Power games played over and over again for thousands of years…this culture’s inhumanity is as eternal as death.”
Searches for Bo Xilai or his wife, Gu Kailai, are currently blocked on Weibo (and Baidu), but this hasn’t stopped users commenting on the story indirectly. Chinese netizens have been wondering what would have happened were it not a Briton that had been murdered, drawing parallels between historic events in China and more recent incidents, such as the return of a Japanese cyclist’s bike in Wuhan. Translations from Offbeat China:
“More than a hundred years have passed, a foreigner’s life is still worth more in China.”
“It has nothing to do with rule of law. The emphasis was on ‘Briton’ or ‘American’.”
“The death of a Briton brought down a Politburo member? What a move! Even Western countries must be surprised. I don’t want to know what else is behind the story, but I do wish that every Chinese who has been wronged by corruption, who died of unspeakable reasons and who has been tortured by those in power, is able to receive the same amount of attention from the government as this Briton does.”
And finally, this piece by John Garnaut may have been written a couple of weeks ago, before the latest twists in the tale, but is still the best thing we’ve read regarding the whole saga: The revenge of Wen Jiabao