Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Billionaires Make Killing Amid China Murder Tale

It’s the rare scandal that involves murder, corruption, Harvard University and comparisons to Jacqueline Kennedy. The Bo Xilai kerfuffle now mesmerizing China offers all this and perhaps more: It could forever change an entire political system.

Until March 15, Bo was the top official in the southwestern megacity of Chongqing and a political rock star. The 62-year-old was poised to join the Politburo Standing Committee, the nine- member group that exercises supreme power in China. Then, poof, his political fortunes vanished amid charges of “serious discipline violations” and a variety of racy rumors.

The most explosive involve Bo’s wife, Gu Kailai, and her ties to a murdered British business associate last November. It’s quite a stunning turn of events for a couple once dubbed the Jack and Jackie Kennedy of China. Gu, along with her Harvard-student son, had a dispute over economic interests with Briton Neil Heywood, Xinhua News Agency reported.

The scandal is creating a bull market in Beijing whispers. The conventional wisdom: Behind the scenes there was a concerted effort to halt Bo’s meteoric rise based on the “Chongqing model” -- a top-down push for social equality, with a strong role for government and huge infrastructure projects. Read More