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May 3 & 6, 2012: from China - Toulouse, France - India - Port-au-Prince, Haiti - Amsterdam

From our correspondents around the world...


China's former Chongqing Municipality Communist Party Secretary Bo Xilai is the subject of one of two scandals threatening the Chinese Communist establishment. His wife has been implicated in the death of a British businessman. (Photo: Reuters)

In China, a dead man, a live dissident and a disgraced party boss make for an embarassing challenge to the country's Communist party.

The F-word erupts into French presidential politics. Are foreigners the future of the Gallic identity or its undoing? The campaign revives a rift.

Then, hate camps versus haute couture. A new documentary examines why some girls in India are subjugated, while others are liberated.

In Haiti, the lacklustre government moves to appease restless former soldiers with the promise of a payday but there's a Fifth Column to worry about.

And, a sting on wheels. Bicycle theft in free-wheeling Amsterdam pushes our correspondent to extremes.

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A challenge to China

China is grappling with a series of scandals the likes of which the country hasn't seen in years.

And it's embarassing the leadership.

It began with the fall of Bo Xilai, a former Communist party boss, ostensibly for breaking party discipline, but also involves his wife, and a dead British businessman.

It was followed by the escape of a blind dissident who evaded house arrest and briefly took sanctuary in the US Embassy in Beijing.

How this gets resolved may change the face of the ruling Politburo. And for context, Rick spoke with longtime correspondent and Beijing resident Patrick Brown, who is familiar with both cases and has met Bo personally.

Listen to Rick's conversation with Patrick

Patrick Brown is a former CBC Correspondent who's been living in China for the past 9 years. He was in British Columbia.

Demonstrators wave their fingers in images of French President Nicolas Sarkozy, as though he is Pinocchio. The second round of presidential voting takes place this Sunday, and part of the campaign has focused on issues of immigration and national identity (Photo: Reuters)

In France, F is for 'foreigner'

In France, the presidential election campaign concluding this weekend has exposed divisions on the right and left.

But perhaps most combustible of all, between immigrants and the French identity.

And having vaulted the issue to prominence, it's not at all clear how French politicians intend to deal with it going forward.

It's as if some are singing a song only a few can hear, as CBC Correspondent Margaret Evans discovers.

Listen to Margaret's dispatch

14-year-old Chinmayee at Durga Camp Graduation (Photo: Storyline Entertainment)

Two views of India

A new documentary has been permitted to film the anti-western hate camps of Hindu extremists for the first time. And it contrasts them with the more liberal life of models preening for the lens in western-style beauty pageants.

In her new documentary, The World Before Her, Canadian director Nisha Pahuja examines their intractable differences, and their common ties.

Listen to an excerpt from the film 

Nisha joined Rick in studio, fresh from winning the Best Documentary Feature award at the Tribeca Film Fesitval last week.

Listen to Rick's interview with Nisha

The World Before Her is playing this week at the Hot Docs Festival in Toronto.

Members of Haiti's rogue military parade through the streets on March 29th, the country's Constitution Day. (Photo: Susanna Ferreira)

Haiti's rogue paramilitaries

The political process in Haiti has lurched back to life in an effort to cap a restless challenge to its authority.

It's promising back pay and pensions to ex-soldiers who were demobilized in the 90s without any. It's either that, it seems, or they might start signing up to a nascent but sinister-sounding paramilitary movement that's beginning to flex some muscle.

It's not clear where its loyalities lie, or if they're just up for rent.

In the meantime, Dispatches contributor Susanna Ferreira is with the former soldiers searching for a payday.

Listen to Susana's documentary

Lauren's ex-partner with kids and cousins piled into the family "bakfiets". It was stolen and she launched an undercover recovery operation with Amsterdam police that bore little resemblance to Law & Order. (Photo Lauren Comiteau)

A sting on wheels

Our contributor in The Netherlands is not larcenous by nature. But you don't mess with a woman's wheels.
Bike wheels, in this case, bicycles being a favoured form of transportation in Dutch cities like Amsterdam. And swiping them, is a favored pastime.

And that's how Dispatches contributor Lauren Comiteau found herself going over to the dark side in her quest for truth, justice, and her big missing bike.

Listen to Lauren's essay

Rosa Gomez and Antonio Savone suffered at the hands of the same torturers. They reunited to try to jail their tormentors. (Photo/Alison Crawford)

Dispatches award winner

It pleases Dispatches to mark the work of CBC journalist Alison Crawford, whose documentary for this program was singled out for a prestigious award last weekend.

She's the first recipient of the Award for Human Rights Reporting, presented by the Canadian Association of Journalists, and Journalists for Human Rights.

Her story, The Eyes of Rosa and Antonio, was about Rosa Gomez and Antonio Savone, imprisoned and tortured by the regime in Argentina, in side-by-side prison cells, separated by a wall.

Until Alison followed Antonio from Canada back to a reunion with Rosa to testify against their captors. And in this excerpt from her award-winning documentary, Antonio speaks of the days he was held in the notorious sub-basement called D2.

Listen to an excerpt from Alison's documentary

Listen to Alison's full documentary here

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This program is the work of producers Dawna Dingwall, Alison Masemann, Steve McNally. With technical producers Nima Shams and Tim Lorimer. Senior producer Alan Guettel and Rick MacInnes-Rae.

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