Sources & Dates• The Washington Post, New York Times, Huffington Post, Wall Street Journal, Reuters• Date Range: March - May 2012• Number of Articles: 15• News Cycle Early-mid March: Ousting of Bo Late March - Early April: Bo’s wife murder allegations April - May: Implications for CCP, Bo’s son “defends himself”
Fall of Bo Xilai 6-8 Feb: Chongqing police chief Wang flees to the US consulate in Chengdu, near Chongqing. Many believe he went there to seek asylum. He spends the night at the consulate, which is surrounded by Chinese police.The police chief is persuaded to leave the consulate after Chongqings mayor rushes to the scene to talk to him. Mr Wang emerges into the waiting arms of the law and then disappears.The Chongqing government says that because of over-work Mr Wang is suffering from stress and is now receiving "holiday-style medical treatment". In fact, he is under investigation and in detention.5-14 Mar: Bo Xilai takes his seat at Chinas annual parliamentary session in Beijing. He keeps an unusually lowprofile amid rumours that Mr Wangs actions have tarnished his chances of promotion to the partys politburoStanding Committee later this year.15 Mar: China announces that Bo Xilai has been removed from his post as party chief in Chongqing. Officialsconfirm that this is because of the Wang Lijun incident. He disappears from public view.26 Mar: UK government confirms it has asked China to re-examine Neil Heywoods death.10 Apr: China announces that Bo Xilai has been stripped of his Communist Party posts and that his wife, Gu Kailai,and an orderly are being investigated in connection with Mr Heywoods death.25 Apr: Bo Xilais son, Bo Guagua, writes an open letter to his university, Harvard. He insists he does not live anextravagant life and says his education has been funded by scholarships and his mothers earnings as a lawyer. Hesays he has no comment to make about the investigation
Representations of CCP • Authoritarian, Soviet comparisons, corrupt, fragile government. • Soviet Comparisons/Outdated: “the opaque, Leninist-style Communist Party” (WP, 3/16/2012) “rooted in a doctrine of intense secrecy and discipline devised by Vladimir Lenin nearly a century ago” (WP, 3/28/1012) “Bo Xilai Revelations Are Chinese "Glasnost” (Op-ed HP, 4/24/2012) • Losing Legitimacy: “brittle system” (NYT 4/7/2012) “deep and delegitimizing impact on China” (NYT, 4/13/2012) “China puts on show of might over Bo Xilai’s • Corruption: military allies” “Bo Xilai and China’s Corrupt Secrets” , “dark side of China’s economic Washington Post, 4/12/2012 rise” (HP, 4/20/2012) “the countrys cloak-and-dagger leadership” (WP, 4/20/2012)
Representations of Bo Xilai• ambitious, ruthless, neo-Maoist, out of control• Ruthless “Mr. Bo’s ruthlessness stood out” (NYT, 5/6/2012)• Maoist/Populist “His statist policies and promotion of a retro-Maoist culture”, “ his populist attitude and flamboyant personality”, “neo-Maoist” (NYT, 4/6/2012)• Ambitious: “Mr. Bo’s ambition and abrasive style” (NYT, 4/7/2012) “In Rise and Fall of China’s Bo “his flair for self-promotion and willingness to deviate Xilai, an Arc of Ruthlessness” from party consensus.” New York Times, 5/6/2012 (HP, 4/10/2012)
Representation of Gu Kailai • scheming, crazy, powerful and ambitious“Jackie Kennedy of China”Wall Street Journal, 4/9/2012 • Accused: of murder of a British businessman, rumors of an affair and financial disputes, cover- up plot, • Crazy: “dressed up shortly afterwards as a military commander and gave a rambling speech to police officials” “increasingly neurotic” (WSJ, 4/9/2012) • Ambitious and Powerful: “She had the charisma and determination rivaled that of her husband” (NYT, 4/12/2012) “long known for her own zealous ambition” (HP, 5/6/2012) “She said to me You cross me - never come to China, youll never get out of jail.” (Reuters, 5/1/2012)
Representation of Bo’s Son • privileged and spoiled “After a pampered childhood in the walled compounds of the Chinese capital, he was sent off for schooling in England, where he developed a reputation as an academically indifferent bon vivant with a weakness for European sports cars, first-class air travel, equestrian sports and the tango.” (NYT, 4/16/2012) “Mr. Bo became known for his “professional socializing” “Apparently responding to criticism of photos posted online of him attending parties and posing with school friends, Bo said he participated in normal social events while at Oxford, partly as a way to ‘broaden my “Son’s Parties and Privilege perspective.’” (HP, 4/25/2012) Aggravate Fall of Elite Drives a Porsche and not a Ferrari (NYT, 4/25/2012, Chinese Family” New York Times, 4/16/2012 4/30/2012)
Truth? Conspiracy? Does it matter?• Vast rumor mill• Lack of transparency• No one really knows what’s going on• Possible smear campaign on Bo? “They are making Bo the poster child of corruption and crime.” (NYT, 4/13/2012)
Conclusion• General feeling of distrust of both government and actors.• Portrays Chinese government outdated, especially the Washington Post, in comparison to Soviet Union (Leninist, Glastnost)• Bo Xilai as a ruthless, ambitious, corrupt, and out of control.• Gu portrayed similarly but with added mental instability.• Son is portrayed as spoiled, privileged and skepticism about his academic validity.