One of the strangest elements of the Bo Xilai scandal and his subsequent removal from the Communist Party was that the official report that stated he "had or maintained improper sexual relations with multiple women".
While Bo's alleged crimes — corruption, cronyism, and even involvement in murder — were big, rumors about his sexual conduct seemed far vaguer, and had been mostly limited to one strange story, sourced to overseas news site Boxun, about a sexual relationship with the Chinese star of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Zhang Ziyi.
According to the report, Zhang been paid $110 million over a number of years for sex with Bo and a number of other senior Party officials. While the story sounds far-fetched, it spread quickly and hit her wallet hard — Zhang's lawyer says she lost $750,000 in work after the fall-out. Zhang is now taking Boxun and a number of other publications to court for publishing the claims.
Officials of the communist party are not allowed to have affairs.
But enough of the smut. Let's get serious. This article, Bo Xilai and Mao's Ghost's, throws another light on the politician's downfall:
The regime is facing huge economic problems on the home front, one of the most volatile being the millions of migrant workers, some 16 percent of the population, who provide cheap labor for China’s export-driven economy. Social and regional tensions are exacerbated by this vast mobile workforce, who exist at the very bottom of the socio-economic ladder: a recent riot in Guangdong province is but a rerun of numerous previous incidents. The number of large scale riots and other examples of public “disorder” has increased exponentially since the early nineties, when 8,300 such incidents were recorded. In 2012, the number exceeded 90,000. Land seizures by party officials are often the cause.
Bo appealed to some of these sources of rising discontent — to those who witnessed the degeneration of the Communist party into a kind of Mafia, and remembered — or, thought they remembered — a better day. His crackdown on China’s rampant gangster underworld — often linked to party officials — inspired widespread support. He stoked all those fires the central party leadership most fears — Maoism, nationalism, and growing economic inequality.
Bo Xilai also invested billions of dollars in housing for Chongqing's poor. But now that he is gone, all that's talked about is not the social ills he addressed but the debt he accumulated.
That said, let's turn to this interesting piece of information in Bo Xilai and Mao's Ghost's article:
China, America’s number one creditor, and supposedly the rising superpower of the future, is a paper tiger. Efforts by the neocons to make them into a replacement for the vanished Soviet threat seem doomed to failure when the Chinese spend a fraction of what we spend on “defense.” To put it all in perspective: the Chinese government spends more on its internal police than on their military, which should give us a good indication of what they’re really afraid of. And they have reason to fear.