With the public still digesting the Thursday dismissal of embattled Chongqing party chief Bo Xilai and the naming of his replacement, speculation turns to both Bo’s future and the broader political implications of his demise. Steve Tsang of the China Policy Institute writes for The Guardian that deliberations over Bo’s fate have only just begun:
But Hu and Wen cannot just sack Bo from all top offices. It would have implications for the balancing of different factions and vested interests in the party. Bringing Bo down has implications for those top leaders from privileged backgrounds like Bo, known popularly as the princelings, who enjoy support from former general secretary Jiang Zemin, head of the old “Shanghai faction”. The choice of another princeling, Zhang Dejiang, to replace Bo as party secretary in Chongqing is undoubtedly part of this balancing.
The future of Bo has not yet been decided, as the party leadership needs to do more horse-trading. It will probably be settled in the next few weeks. However, this will not be the end of the matter. What is involved here is much more than the fate of Bo. It is about the jockeying for position in the leadership succession schedule for the party congress in the autumn.
Until then, there will be plenty of manoeuvring by those holding top positions and those hoping to get a seat at the standing committee of the politburo. Bo’s standing committee dream is over, but how his fate will be decided will affect the prospect of others – and with it how China will be managed in the next decade.
The New Yorker’s Evan Osnos observes that the U.S. Republican Presidential primary race looks like a “group hug” in comparison to the dirty drama of Chinese politics, and The
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