For the Financial Times Magazine, Jamil Anderlini traces the rise and fall of former Chongqing party boss and Politburo Standing Committee hopeful Bo Xilai, and the tightrope the party must walk now as they decide how to deal with the fallout:
Given Bo’s enormous popularity among ordinary people, an unconvincing official account backed by threadbare evidence could lead many Chinese to assume the entire affair was a stitch-up and Bo was the victim of political infighting. On the other hand, if the case against him is presented too fully, with gory details of corruption, murder and plots, then the public may question how someone so craven and deranged could rise to the top of the political system, and scrutiny may turn to other senior leaders. For now, the once-in-a-decade leadership transition scheduled for October or November appears to be back on track. Some analysts are even saying that without Bo’s destabilising presence, a more harmonious and effective leadership will emerge.
“Bo and his ambition were seen as the most dangerous force in Chinese politics and people inside the party always compared him to Hitler,” said one senior Chongqing official who worked closely with Bo. “He was a Marxist-Leninist who opposed western liberal democracy, but the irony is that if the Chinese people were allowed to vote, he probably would have been elected president.”
After news media reports on Saturday that the Chinese had taken the architect, Patrick Henri Devillers, 51, into custody, a spokesman for the French Foreign Ministry said that Mr. Devillers was being “housed” in “proper conditions” and that he was not in prison. “He is well; he’s in great health,” said the spokesman, Bernard Valero.
An official at the French Embassy in Beijing said French diplomats would visit Mr. Devillers again this week. But officials did not specify his whereabouts or say whether he was free to leave China.