Chinese Politics and Bo Xilai Intrigue


China is undergoing an upheaval in leadership that some people suggest will be as influential as the suppression following Tiananmen Square. We hear from people inside and outside the country to try and understand what's behind the latest leadership struggle and its significance.

Part Two of The Current

Chinese Politics and Bo Xilai Intrigue - NYT Beijing Correspondent

You may have to look back as far as the siege of the American embassy during the Boxer Rebellion in the late 19th century for a time when U.S. diplomatic staff were so intimately involved in China's internal politics.

This week, a prominent Chinese dissident took refuge in the embassy and begged for asylum. Chen Guangcheng was persuaded to leave after assurances from Chinese authorities that he and his family would be safe. But now he's asking U.S. Secretary of State Hilary Clinton, who is in China this week, to help get him out of the country. Chinese officials now say Chen can apply to study abroad.

It's a delicate situation, to be sure. But an incident from earlier this year may have even more profound consequences. And it, too, centres around a US diplomatic mission in China. In February, the police chief of Chongqing arrived at a US consulate with a tale of deceit, corruption and murder. It involved his boss, local Communist party leader Bo Xilai and Bo's wife.

Bo was a charismatic and influential Communist party politician -- a man once believed destined to be a key player in the country's leadership. The police chief's story has resulted in a murder investigation involving Bo's wife; Bo, meanwhile, has lost his position in the Party. Some call it the most significant shakeup since the Tiananmen Square upheaval.

Edward Wong is covering the saga. He's the New York Times Correspondent in Beijing.

Chinese Politics and Bo Xilai Intrigue - Political Science Professor

Wenran Jiang teaches Political Science at the University of Alberta and is a Senior Fellow at the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada. And he was born and raised in China, where he studied at Peking University with Bo Xilai. Wenran Jiang was in our Toronto studio this morning.

This segment was produced by The Current's Liz Hoath and Gord Westmacott.

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