Monday, April 2, 2012

China wrestles Mao's ghost after political storm

(Reuters) - Former Red Guard leader Tang Dahua says memories of the fanatical bloodshed that tore apart the southwestern Chinese city of Chongqing return to him with startling clarity.

Decades after Mao Zedong's Cultural Revolution made Chongqing a bloody ideological battleground, the riverside megacity, China's largest, is at the heart of a different political storm - one that has exposed rifts inside the ruling Communist Party after the ouster of the city's charismatic leader, Bo Xilai.

Tang was a prominent leader in the late 1960s battles between Red Guard factions in Chongqing that killed many hundreds in ferocious fighting, and he dismissed the idea that the violence that ravaged China then could return.

But Bo's downfall has exposed ideological fault lines in the government and the public that could trouble the party months before a delicate reshuffle of top leaders.

"I think the centre has a real problem on its hands," said Joseph Fewsmith, a professor of Chinese politics at Boston University, referring to central leaders' handling of Bo. Read More