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A Leadership Shake-Up In China

A top official in China stripped of his posts.  A political rift opens in China’s leadership.  We look at the biggest crisis in Chinese politics since Tiananmen.

In this March 13, 2012 file photo, Chongqing party secretary Bo Xilai attends the closing session of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference in Beijing's Great Hall of the People, China. (AP)

In this March 13, 2012 file photo, Chongqing party secretary Bo Xilai attends the closing session of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference in Beijing's Great Hall of the People, China. (AP)

From half a world away, rising China can look like a monolithic juggernaut with an unshakable Communist Party cadre at the top leading a billion-plus people on to glory.

But in the last month, an incredible story of deep party division, corruption, poisoning and murder – of ideological warfare and eye-popping skullduggery – has put that whole picture of party unity and Chinese stability, at the very top,  in question.

The career of “new left” neo-Maoist princeling Bo Xi Lai is in tatters.  Deep national tensions are exposed.  Outcome, uncertain – and important to the world.

This hour, On Point:  uproar in China, and the story of Bo Xi lai.

-Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Evan Osnos, writer for the New Yorker based in Beijing

Dali Yang, faculty director at the University of Chicago Center in Beijing. He also directs the University of Chicago’s Chicago’s Confucius Institute, which offers Chinese language instruction and supports research on China. Author of “Remaking the Chinese Leviathan: Market Transition and the Politics of Governance in China.”

From Tom’s Reading List

The New York Times “The governing Communist Party sought to close ranks swiftly on Wednesday, hoping to move beyond a mortifying scandal that has exposed a leadership split and threatens to lay bare corruption in the party’s highest ranks. ”

The Wall Street Journal “The day before his death in the fog-shrouded Chinese city of Chongqing, Neil Heywood sensed that something was amiss. The British businessman had been summoned on short notice to a meeting in Chongqing in early November with representatives of the family of Bo Xilai, the local Communist Party chief, according to an account by a friend whom Mr. Heywood contacted at the time. Mr. Heywood told the friend he was ‘in trouble.'”

Playlist

The East is Red

There is No New China Without the Communist Party

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