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How to build a Chinese leader

By Lao Zi - posted Thursday, 5 May 2011


The journalist who discovered the documents, Jiang Weiping, was jailed for six years for his efforts.

Ultimately, it would seem that the case against Li Zhuang was drawing far too much attention and should be aborted, lest it draw further attention to Bo. Besides, Li was already in jail, and even though he is nearing the end of his 18 month sentence, he is unlikely to make more trouble.

At the street level, Bo Xilai’s image is undoubtedly a positive one. Even those who know of his past tend to view these matters on balance, and the booming economies of Dalian, Liaoning and Chongqing speak to his successes more loudly than the darker parts of his story. His face is a fresh one, one that isn’t afraid to make what appear as unscripted remarks. Abstract concepts, such as an alarming disregard for the concept of an independent judiciary tend to figure lower on the Chinese list of priorities when ranked against economic success. At least, they do for the time being.

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Bo’s success seems assured, but there are many factions within the CCP and it takes them a long time to pull the right strings and manoeuvre their preferred candidates into position.

Many will undoubtedly be hoping his career comes to an abrupt end before his power reaches its zenith. Bo Xilai is already the face of an influential faction and his power is steadily growing.

As he rises to the top of the CCP and emerges as one of the next generation of leaders, how he manages to reconcile his approach of sidelining the judiciary with his tough-on-crime persona will be interesting to watch, although it is more than likely they will end up complementing one another.

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About the Author

Lao Zi is a semi-mythical Chinese philosopher who lived sometime between the 4th and 6th century BC. He's widely regarded as a counterweight to Confucian ideals and his work has been embraced by libertarian and anti-authoritarian movements worldwide. It's also the nom-de-plume of a former Australian journalist, currently residing in China who blogs at chinarealpolitik.com.

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