西红柿 (xīhóngshì): tomato
Bo Xilai (second from right) at a red song performance in Chongqing in March 2011. Former Politburo Standing Committee member He Guoqiang stands to his left. (Wan Nan/Chongqing Daily)
Sounds the same as “western red city” (西红市 xī hóng shì). During his tenure as Chongqing Party Secretary, Bo Xilai created an ambitious program to encourage residents to sing “red songs.” Bo’s charisma and embrace of the Mao
-era culture captivated China and the world. Former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger visited the “western red city” in the summer of 2011
and watched a mass performance of red songs—just months before the murder of British businessman Neil Heywood
which would strike down Bo’s star.