Bo Xilai: Nation-Changer, or Colourful Sideshow?

At The Sydney Morning Herald, John Garnaut asks whether Bo Xilai, father of Chongqing’s famous anti-mafia campaign and Red Culture resurgence, has already hit his peak:

Wang Kang, a Chongqing intellectual who is steeped in party history as well as China’s ancient classics, believes even the actors are not fully aware of the ancient dynastic forces that are at play on Bo Xilai’s political stage.

“All through Chinese history power has been transmitted down through bloodlines,” says Mr Kang. “Bo has extraordinary capabilities, and is not just representing his father Bo Yibo, who made a special contribution to the revolution, but his father’s generation ….”

The Bo Xilai performance, whether nation-changing or colourful sideshow, reached a new crescendo when Mr Bo’s “sing red” campaign was taken up across the country for the party’s recent 90th birthday celebrations. But there are also signs that the Bo Xilai phenomenon is struggling to maintain momentum ….

Even Yang Fan, co-author of The Chongqing Model, which is prominently displayed in the city’s bookstores, is having second thoughts … “Maybe Bo … is becoming a mini-Mao,” says Mr Yang. “Bo shouldn’t sacrifice China’s future for his own ambition. Bo’s problems in Chongqing will be exposed and it will become chaotic.”

Read more on Bo and his Chongqing via CDT, including You Can’t Have a Party Without Music: A Red Song Primer on one hand, and One Year Labour Reform for Mocking Party Leader on Weibo on the other.


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