Friday, December 30, 2011

Bo Xilai, a name to watch for in Chinese politics.

The new face of China? | Prospect Magazine:


Former Dalian mayor, Bo Xilai


Jiang Weiping, a journalist, was the northeast bureau chief for Wenweipo, a pro-party tabloid. In the 1990s, China’s northeast was booming, its prosperity fuelled by vast deposits of petroleum, iron and coal. The boom made a few select men breathtakingly rich. Shrouded in a Dickensian soot, Dalian was a riot of neon-lit karaoke bars, cheap prostitutes and greedy officials. The region was also racked by violence as tycoons and corrupt bureaucrats vied for riches. Bribery, kidnappings and contract killings were common. Arrests were not.
I bookmarked this article before my trip to China but only just read it. I wish I'd been more on top of reading list so I could have asked my colleagues in Dalian (though they might all be too young to recall his term as mayor) what they thought of Bo Xilai.

Dalian has sweepers constantly at work keeping soot of the sidewalks, but it's still a smoggy, riotously lit up city. I was warned about pick-pockets on the city bus and in the subways, but neither experienced nor saw any real evidence of endemic violence. If there were any kidnappings or murders while I was there, I don't know how I would've learned of them given the state of their television news, internet, and newspapers.

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