We have news of Bo Xilai, it seems:
Disgraced former senior Chinese leader Bo Xilai is refusing to cooperate with a government investigation into him and has staged hunger strikes in protest and at one point was treated in hospital, sources with knowledge of the matter said.
The story confirms, or at any rate reiterates, accounts found in exile and dissident overseas Chinese news sources over the past few months. The Reuters piece is sourced to two anonymous insiders and rounded out by Bao Tong, Zhao Ziyang’s former secretary and a common go-to guy for this kind of story. The takeout is that the Party can’t deal with Bo, which may be true but is also a story that dissidents wish to tell.
And it’s a highly plausible story, given that Beijing’s ‘investigation’ of Bo isn’t about establishing what happened but about fitting him into a narrative congenial to the new regime and its public anti-corruption stance, a narrative which seems likely to involve a certain disgraced former supreme ruler of Chongqing facing quite a bit of jail time. This alters the unofficial compact around the lenient treatment of top leaders who in one way or other fail the Party discipline test so it wouldn’t be a surprise if Bo refused to go along with the story.
Also, this was a nice touch:
A second source confirmed that Bo had been on a hunger strike and also said he had refused to shave to protest against what he saw as his unfair treatment.
"His beard is long, chest-length," the source said.
It goes back to the ‘leader hair’ thing. Errant cadres are supposed to show up for their sentencing rituals looking pale and penitent, heads bowed so their lack of virile black hair dye is plain to see. Bo, by contrast, seems to have gone feral. That won’t do at all.
Of course, one solution to this would be to drug him and shave him in his sleep. But who would have the audacity to do that to even a disgraced top leader without top level authorization? If this account is accurate what Bo’s doing here is kicking the whole thing back upstairs, presumably in the hope that Xi and the new gang will let him slide, perhaps into some kind of internal exile/house arrest.