Open season on Bo Xilai continues. My, doesn’t it just: the basic allegation here is that Bo’s anti-organised crime campaign was simply an excuse to grab the assets of wealthy businesspeople in order to – wait for it – establish a comprehensive social security system.
Now, the two most popular of Bo’s initiatives are, funnily enough, his anti-mafia crackdown and his welfare measures. It seems to be necessary to discredit these in order to take him down. It’s also becoming apparent that at least some of Bo’s enemies want to take down what they believe to be a reliance on state-capitalist led growth and an emerging public welfare agenda along with him. And as Patrick Chovanec remarks in a related context, this kind of all out attack stems from very high level permission.
I’m not surprised that the FT would support this agenda; but I am a bit surprised that it would let itself be used as a channel by one side in a CPC faction fight. If you look at the sidebar, as well, there’s an odd reference to Wang Lijun having a hobby of human vivisection, which is straight Falun Gong propaganda.
There’s also generally a lot less here than meets the eye. As we’ve pointed out before, neither Bo nor Wang Yang are up for President or Premier. What’s at stake are posts on the nine-man Standing Committee, which both could still conceivably get, and neither of which would necessarily have economic oversight powers. And both Bo and Wang’s models are functions of the autonomy allowed to provincial level leaderships. The adoption of either ‘model’ nationwide would imply a recentralization of power under a strongman figure. This would be bad news whatever ‘model’ were adopted.