Thousands clash with police in Chongqing
Thousands of enraged protestors were involved in a bloody clash with police in Chongqing on Tuesday night, with rumors spreading that some have been killed and that the People's Liberation Army has been deployed to suppress the riots.
On Tuesday afternoon, thousands of residents and students from Wansheng district in Chongqing — a sprawling metropolis in southwest China — took to the streets to oppose the forced merging of the area with neighboring Qijiang county, which has reportedly led to economic decline and reductions in social welfare and healthcare benefits.
The change, approved by the State Council last October, was allegedly forced upon residents by the city's disgraced former Communist Party chief Bo Xilai, who wanted to boost Qijiang's status from a county to a district. Bo's sacking last month amid widespread accusations of corruption has led the central government to fear outbreaks of unrest in the city. Always aiming to maintain "stability," Chinese authorities deployed large numbers of police to suppress the protestors, who chanted "Return Wansheng district to us!" and "We want to eat!" as they paraded through the city.
Many students and elderly protesters have reportedly been injured, including suggestions that some have been killed.
Heavy-handed tactics employed by the police drew the ire of more residents, reports show, who retaliated by joining forces with protestors to fight back. Tear gas was used as thousands of police clashed with residents in the streets deep into the night. The district's party chief was also reportedly injured during the riots.
Reports now suggest students have issued notices urging residents to block the highway on Wednesday morning to prevent the arrival of army troops deployed to prevent the incident from worsening.
Official reports on Bo Xilai give rise to fresh rumors
Soon after the state news agency Xinhua released the news of Bo Xilai's suspension from both the Communist Party's Central Committee and its Politburo shortly late on April 10, sources quoted by the US-based citizen journalist website Boxun said that the order to murder the British businessman Neil Heywood came directly from Bo and his assistant Zhang Xiaojun carried out the deed.
Bo is also reportedly responsible for the murder of six people in Dalian and Chongqing, cities where he served as party chief. The claim was disclosed by Mingjing News, a New York-based website allegedly sourced by political insiders. The website said sources from the Communist Party relayed the information, and External Reference magazine will describe the details later. The report has not yet been confirmed by other independent sources yet. Beijing analysts said that if the allegations are confirmed, Bo Xilai will most likely be sentenced to death.
Boxun previously disclosed that Heywood had gained confidential information regarding transactions of the Bo family's assets and that he was having an affair with Bo's wife Gu Kailai. Although official Chinese news outlets have reported Gu Kailai and Zhang Xiaojun are suspected of murdering Heywood, they did not directly accuse Bo Xilai of having a hand in his death.
The sources informed Boxun that Xia Deliang, the arrested party secretary of Chongqing Na'an district, confessed that he prepared the potassium hydrogen solution that poisoned Heywood and that he paid Bo's wife 30 million yuan (US$4.8 million) in order to be promoted to vice mayor. According to the initial investigation, Bo received 1 billion yuan (US$158 million) through his wife in bribes from Chongqing officials seeking promotion.
Boxun quoted insiders as saying that Gu Kailai may be given the death penalty as she is suspected of murdering another four persons. She has reportedly admitted transferring 8 billion yuan (US$1.2 billion) of assets overseas.
The report also told of a politician drunk with power and in thrall to his own personality cult, regarding himself as behind only the first Chinese emperor Qin Shihuang and Mao Zedong as the greatest man in Chinese history.
According to investigations, Bo pursued a decadent lifestyle from his time as party boss in Dalian. It is said that he has slept with over 100 women, a quarter of whom are celebrities including CCTV presenters and numerous models, while other rumors said he has kept well-known movie stars and singers as his mistresses. It is also reported that Bo's right-hand man Wang Lijun — whose attempt to seek political asylum at the US consulate in Chengdu in February was the trigger that brought about his downfall — recorded the details of Bo's behavior in secret. Xu Ming, chairman of Dalian Shide and a former backer of Bo who is himself now under investigation, has apparently admitted to seeking out young women for Bo to sleep with.
Bo Xilai's wife Gu Kailai meanwhile, a well-known lawyer in her own right, is said to be shrewd and clever, though she likes to boast of her achievements. Ed Byrne, an American lawyer from Denver who worked with Gu several years ago, described her as Jackie Kennedy of China in an interview with the Wall Street Journal. Friends of Gu's family have disclosed however that she had been experiencing depression in recent years and had distanced herself from her husband for fear of betrayal. She is alleged to have had an affair with Heywood, who was concerned for his safety after they broke up as Gu complained to him constantly that she was betrayed by close friends and relatives.
The late-night news release from Xinhua has confirmed much of what was already being spread as rumor on the country's social networking sites, and triggering a fresh wave as internet users stayed up to pick over the case some more.
A netizen going by the name "Liberalism to Death 11" said: "Tonight [state broadcaster] CCTV once again proved that rumors on the microblogs will basically be confirmed soon."
Briton's death ordered by Bo Xilai over affair: Boxun
A new theory has emerged that the death of British businessman Neil Heywood may have been orchestrated by Bo Xilai, after the discovery that his wife had been having an affair with the British businessman, reported Boxun News, a citizen journalism site that is sourced mostly by anonymous users and frequently makes claims that are difficult to prove.
Wild rumors have continued to circulate over what exactly caused the ouster of disgraced former Chongqing Communist Party secretary Bo Xilai last month, and the attempted US defection of his former police chief Wang Lijun the month before. In recent weeks, the death of Neil Heywood, a British businessman with alleged ties to the Bo family, was linked to the mystery by both Chinese and international media, with sources claiming that it was Bo's anger over Wang's investigation into Heywood's unusual death that provided the flash point for China's biggest political story since the Tiananmen Square violence of 1989.
Despite denials from Heywood's family that he had any business dealings with Bo, news reports have claimed that Heywood had acted as a "white glove" for Bo's money laundering activities and that he was a business consultant for a firm run by Bo's wife, Gu Kailai. Sources have also claimed that Heywood's death in a Chongqing hotel room last November was not an accident, as Chinese authorities initially ruled, and that he was poisoned by Gu over a financial dispute.
An alternative theory has now been presented by Boxun — that Heywood's death was ordered by Bo because of an affair he had had with Gu. According to this formulation, the murder was carried out by Che Keming, former director of China's National Security Agency in Dalian, a port city in the country's northeast, where Bo was once mayor.
Boxun cited a Wall Street Journal article in which Heywood told friends he was concerned for his safety, and reported that this was due to his having fallen in love with the wife of a high-ranking Communist Party official. This theory may explain why the Wall Street Journal also reported a source as saying that Gu had demanded Heywood divorce his Chinese wife.
Notwithstanding Bo's claims that Gu, once a high-powered lawyer, was a stay-at-home mother who gave up her career more than two decades ago, the Journal's investigation has revealed that she had in fact been involved in various business dealings in the US and UK throughout.
Gu reportedly ran her own company — which she called the Law Office of Horus L Kai — and was also involved in a firm called Horas Consultancy & Investment, which advised clients wanting to do business in China. She was said to have relied on a small group of advisers and friends that included Heywood, American businessman Larry Cheng and French architect Patrick Henri Devillers, all of whom had become close to the family during their time in Dalian and Beijing.
The investigation also found that Gu had been battling depression in recent years and that her relationship with her ambitious husband was growing more distant in his quest for a spot in the party's ruling circles, a dream that has been all but shattered by recent events.