By Yaxue Cao
Okay, where were we?
In Edition 1, the sleek, smart-looking British gent was nowhere on the scene yet, but we now know that he was seen pinching the behind of Gu Kailai (谷开来), wife of the newly-deposed Communist leader Bo Xilai, ten years ago in a southern town of England, and that he was found dead on Ms. Gu’s birthday in a hotel room in the southwest city of Chongqing, China. Quite a span however you look at it.
If you are like me, tired, sleep-deprived, and dozing off during much of the show, I suggest you sleep through it altogether lest you get drowned by a deluge of facts and rumors, but mostly rumors, swooshing down on you when you wake up in the middle of it:
Bo Xilai and Zhou Yongkang (周永康) planned to unseat Xi Jinping (习近平) in 2014, if they couldn’t get it done sooner.
On the night of March 19, the Armed Police Force under the direction of Zhou Yongkang surrounded Zhong-nan-hai (中南海, headquarters of China’s leaders) but were “driven away” by the elite security force inside.
Thirty-six people were apprehended and locked up in Beidaihe (北戴河, a beach resort northeast of Beijing), including a billionaire from Dalian associated with Bo.
The couple didn’t just kill one person; they killed four….not including a TV hostess who was said to have had an affair with Bo before she was disappeared…
“Sex, Lies, and Political Intrigues”, the headline of a Chinese overseas media reads.
But “Political reform is on its way!”, cheered the owner of a bookstore frequented by liberal opinion leaders. “The Central Committee has agreed on the Premier’s call for reform, and June Fourth is going to be redressed!”
Sure, it must be imminent if the edict we have been looking forward to for nearly a quarter century has passed down, already, to a mangy bookstore. Already, I am beginning to sorely miss my sense of Kafkaesque neverness….
Bo Guagua, the twenty-four-year-old son of Bo, was seen leaving his upscale apartment building in Cambridge, Massachusetts, with a besuited man wearing a badge, but both the police and the FBI denied of having anything to do with it. Some reports said he was spotted in New York, others said he was taken back to China. And not to be left out, the State Department said he was still in Harvard….
Oh, Ms. Gu Kailai is dying from bone cancer, according to an English paper in Hong Kong. She has probably only a year or two to live, and the disease has made her erratic, flirty and “promiscuous.” Hmmmmm.
“Zhou Yongkang is in trouble!”
“Or is he?”
“Zhou Yongkang is the next!” The clamoring persists.
That would be a turn of events that I will be genuinely happy about. Zhou and the Committee of Politics and Law (政法委) he leads, is the source of evil in China that’s behind all the torture, disappearances and heavy sentences for dissidents.
From all directions, all sorts of people are feeding the media, not because they have information (they may) to give, but because they are motivated to say one thing or another. I perked up from my doze when I heard Reuters quoting “a source close to the investigation.” To my ears, it rings shrilly, “Beware!”
To be sure, the show will duly come to an end, and we will be informed of the “findings,” hopefully soon because it is everyone’s belief that the Party doesn’t want to drag it out for too long. But prepare yourself for a report similar to that of the high-speed train accident last year: It will be all about how it would best serve the Party, not the truth.
Case in point: While we haven’t heard anything about a trial, let alone a verdict from the court, the People’s Daily is declaring, on April 18, that Gu is guilty of killing Heywood and, more importantly, “the criminal case shall not be interpreted as a political struggle.”
Of course not, except that, for days on, every branch of the government, everyone who matters at all, has been solemnly pledging their loyalty to Hu Jintao (胡锦涛) and the Party’s Central Committee in headlines that remind us of a bygone era.
How can you expect easy truth when it took multiple groups of foreign journalists and several tries just to identify the hotel where Heywood was found dead?
How can you trust the Chinese authorities when the state-owned media, perversely, insist on calling the dead man 伍德 (Wood) when his name is 海伍德 (Heywood)?
But thanks to him (sorry about your death, but you shouldn’t have fooled around with those people), the CCP can’t put a lid on the whole thing and zip it up. When was the last time you saw foreign media poring over a Chinese case on an O. J. Simpsonian scale? I am hopeful as long as they are digging, even if some of them are merely regurgitating rumors off the Chinese Weibos.
I don’t know exactly what I am hoping for. But that’s precisely why I am hopeful: From this crack that the CCP can’t control and can’t seal, something might be pried open that would cause a chain reaction that would lead to another thing, and still another thing….
Columbus went out to look for the East Indies, but instead, he found the New World. You get the idea. I am excited about the possibilities.
So, foreign journalists, keep it up! The British journalists in particular! Give me a new world, or, at least do proud your Willy Shakes (@IAM_SHAKESPEARE)!