It's been notable that since Bo Xilai blew up the Chinese government has been leaking like a sieve. However, a word of warning:
But as the scandal moves from the immediate circumstances to the broader political fallout, the Bo case could become harder to report. Political stories in China can be like quicksand. White House reporters might not get to talk too often to the president, but they can speak to people who were in the room with him when he makes a decision. In China, foreign reporters have to rely on more removed sources: advisors, Chinese journalists, foreigners who have recently met senior leaders, and lower-level bureaucrats. All sources have an agenda, but the more tenuous their link to power, the harder it can be to decode their bias -- or assess their credibility. Even with reporting on Bo's fall, stories about his phone-tapping antics and links to the death of Heywood depended heavily on anonymous sources. Trying to gauge the political machinations of a group of a few dozen standing committee members, kingmakers, and PLA generals is at best an imperfect task when much of the information is coming third-hand.
So far as I can tell it's the reform/pro-market element in the apparat that seem to be spinning hardest in the post Bo environment, maybe partly because they're more comfortable with international media: hence all those unlikely tales of Wen Jiabao as the politburo secret santa masterminding a liberal turn, any minute now, just you wait and see. Also:
At the same time, having been initially stumped by the uncertainty over Bo's fate, the propaganda authorities now seem to be stepping up their efforts to try and mold the narrative -- even if sometimes in a pretty clumsy manner.Time's Hannah Beech says that three separate sources in the space of one day repeated the same talking points, describing Bo to her as being like Adolf Hitler. Two others told her his behavior was reminiscent of Bill Clinton during the Monica Lewinsky affair. Even for hack propaganda officials, the leap from Hitler to Lewinsky is quite a stretch.
I thought by and large the Party's spinners did a pretty good job over Bo; the way in which they used Madam Gu's alleged depravities as a means of sidelining the details of what Bo actually did in Chongqing and the eagerness of top figures to associate themselves with it was quite effective, especially for people who are probably learning on the job. Mind you, even an apprentice spinner should be able to do a lot with a 'lethal tiger lady' story.
As for the naming thing, one of the more charming aspects of some of the Chinese official class is an aoccasional tendency to treat world history and politics like a kind of dressing up box. Bo's enemies used to characterise him as Kim Il-sung even as his deputy, Chongqing mayor Huang Qifan, went around comparing himself to Ronald Reagan. Now there's an irresistable political combination for you.