It’s been a crazy couple of days for political rumours in Beijing. First, a fatal Ferrari crash in Beijing led to rampant speculation that Bo Xilai’s son, Oxford graduate and general young politico-plutocrat about town Bo Guagua, had succeeded in either killing himself or in being wiped out by his dad’s political enemies: Bo senior is notorious for denying that his son tools around town in a red Ferrari (and that if the naughty scamp does, it belongs to his mate) The word Ferrari is now banned from the search function of Chinese microblogs, though you can apparently get round that by using the English term rather than ‘fa la li’.
Elsewhere, this Taiwanese paper reports that security forces were massing in the capital amid the sounds of gunfire in the streets. It also carries rumours that open factional warfare has broken out within the politburo standing committee. Various coup rumours are analysed here, and a useful credibility testing metric is presented.
Also on Tea Leaf Nation, a rundown of a Global Times poll on Western style democratic reform in China. There’s some obvious loading on the question (ie, the use of ‘western style’) but the range of responses offered seems about right. It finds 15% of respondents in favour, 10% opposed as ‘imperialistic’, 20% believing the idea is ‘too naïve’ and 48% saying that it is ‘unrealistic’, though they are not opposed in principle. The last two results may have something to do with the rumours.