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Insights into Political Infighting in China: Reports about Bo Xilai and Zhou Yongkong

[Editor’s Note: The political shake-up started when Wang Lijun made his way to the U.S. Consulate in Chendu in an apparent asylum attempt. Since then, Bo Xilai has been suspended from the Politburo and is being held incommunicado while he is investigated and Zhou Yongkang, one of the nine member Politburo Standing Committee (PSC), was reported as having “handed operational control of the pervasive Chinese security apparatus” over to another. [1] Their connection to Jiang Zemin, the former CCP head, has also surfaced. To help Western readers understand the complexity of the situation and the nuances inherent in the political infighting, Chinascope has collected and translated some reports about Bo, Zhou, and Jiang from Chinese media (both inside and outside of China). A major source for the Chinascope report is the Epoch Times, which, as an independent Chinese media, has done a number of in-depth reports and analyses into the issue. Many other Chinese media are, directly or indirectly, controlled by Beijing and have been unable to do so.]

I. The Political Relationships among Wang Lijun, Bo Xilai, Zhou Yongkang, and Jiang Zemin

A. How are Wang, Bo, Zhou, and Jiang related politically?

Wang Lijun’s family did not provide him with political backing or with any connections. He is just an everyday person who rose through the ranks. One of the secrets of his increased political status was that he became Bo Xilai’s confidant. Wang became a Bo Xilai loyalist when Bo was the governor of Liaoning Province. Bo later handpicked him to go to Chongqing to head his “strike the black” campaign.

The connections among Bo Xilai, Zhou Yongkang, and Jiang Zemin are more complicated. An exclusive report from Epoch Times explained why Jiang Zemin and Zhou Yongkang picked Bo Xilai and continued to back him. [2] “Jiang Zemin, Zeng Qinghong [3], Zhou Yongkang, and Luo Gan were the primary decision makers in the persecution of Falun Gong. They did not want the persecution and especially the harvesting of organs from live Falun Gong practitioners, to become known. To cover up their involvement, Jiang and Zeng wanted to maintain their power. This is the core of the ‘Jiang-Hu fight.’” Since Bo Xilai and Wang Lijun actively implemented Jiang’s Falun Gong policy, they were in Jiang’s faction and had the same political agenda. Thus, Jiang and Zhou picked Bo as their successor.

The story continues:

“Xi Jinping does not belong to a faction. His father, Xi Zhongxun, [4] was a reformist in the CCP. His ideas were close to those of Hu Yaobang and Zhao Ziyang, and he maintained a close relationship with them. Hu Yaobang initially promoted both Hu Jintao and Wen Jiabao. Owing to Hu Yaobang, Hu Jintao and Wen Jiabao were close to and respected Xi Zhongxun. To certain extent, Xi was one of Hu and Wen’s mentors.

“At the 17th National Congress of the CCP, Hu Jintao wanted to promote Li Keqiang and Xi Jinping. In 2007, Jiang Zemin and Zeng Qinghong tried to block Hu Jintao’s plan. They chose to stop Li Keqiang’s promotion. Since they didn’t have a good candidate of their own to counter Li, they suggested Xi Jinping, who was acceptable to all parties. Because Xi was the son of Hu and Wen’s ‘mentor,’ they went along with Xi.

“Therefore, Xi Jinping was not a Jiang/Zeng loyalist. Their pushing him to the front was just a temporary solution. They really wanted Bo Xilai. The Jiang/Zeng plan was: In 2007, stop Hu’s ideal candidate (Li Keqiang) from being established as the top successor; from 2007 to 2012, develop their own ideal candidate, Bo Xilai, so that he would have the requisite reputation and power; in 2012, get Bo a member seat on the PSC and the head position of the CCP Central Political and Legal Committee. Then, in the following two years, use Bo’s national reputation built from his ‘singing the red’ and ‘striking the black’ campaigns, the power from the armed police that the political and legal committee managed, and the military influence that Bo developed and that the Jiang’s faction had, to remove or even arrest Xi Jinping. The Jiang/Zeng faction would then be in control again. The plan was successfully executed up to a point. Wang Lijun’s arrival at the U.S. consulate changed everything.”

B. Fighting for Seats at the 18th National Congress of the CCP

The power struggle grew fierce as Hu Jintao’s Youth League faction and Jiang Zemin’s princelings faction competed for power at the upcoming 18th National Congress of the CCP. New Tang Dynasty (NTD) Television offered an analysis of the potential seating [5]:

“After Bo Xilai was taken out, there were several versions of the candidates’ list for the next PSC. … On March 16, 2012, Reuters reported that, based on multiple sources from Beijing, besides Xi Jinping and Li Keqiang, the other seven members were Wang Yang (汪洋), Wang Qishan (王岐山), Liu Yunshan (刘云山), Li Yuanchao (李源潮), Zhang Dejiang (张德江), Zhang Gaoli (张高丽), and Yu Zhengsheng (俞正声). [6]

“Recently, there was also a rumor from Beijing that the nine members were Zhang Dejiang, Wang Yang, Li Yuanchao, Zhang Gaoli, Li Keqiang, Yu Zhengsheng, Xi Jinping, Liu Yandong (刘延东), and Wang Qishan.

“Senior media reporter Wang Yuxin said that these two versions were based on information from Beijing; they indicated the desire of different factions within the CCP to attempt to influence the outcome.

“He pointed out that Jiang’s faction had an absolute majority in both versions. The only difference was changing Liu Yunshan to Liu Yandong. In the Reuter’s version, only Wang Yang, Li Keqiang, and Li Yuanchao were from the Youth League faction (团派). They would replace Hu Jintao, Wen Jiabao, and Li Keqiang. It would then be the same as the current structure, where Jiang’s princelings faction has a 6 to 3 majority. It would be the best arrangement for Jiang.

“Some foreign reports said that CCP Central Propaganda Department head Liu Yunshan is in Hu’s faction. Actually he is in Jiang’s faction.

“Recently, Japanese Jiji and Hong Kong South China Morning Post reported that the 18th National Congress of the CCP might revert to a system in which the PSC had seven members as it did for the 15th National Congress. This would enable a faster and better decision making process. This may be more than just a rumor. It may be Hu’s Youth League faction releasing information to help Hu get rid of Jiang’s people.

“The March 2012 issue of the Hong Kong Trend magazine said that, according to a reliable source from Beijing, the current nine PSC members have decided to select Yuan Cunqing, the Party Secretary of Shanxi Province, as a candidate for the Secretary of the Political and Legal Committee at the 18th National Congress. However, the Political and Legal Committee head would only be a Politburo member, but not a PSC member.

“Outside sources pointed out that, besides Xi Jinping and Li Keqiang, the Youth League faction’s Wang Yang, Li Yuanchao (李源潮), Ling Jihua (令计划), and Liu Yandong are all prime candidates for the PSC. Wang Yuxin said that forming the PSC with these six people plus Yuan Cunqing or Wang Qishan from Jiang’s princelings’ fraction would be the most ideal plan for Hu; it would allow the Youth League fraction to have an absolute majority.

“Wang also pointed out that excluding the Secretary of the Political and Legal Committee from the PSC would be very beneficial in reducing the Political and Legal Committee’s overly-extended power and keeping it from being a second Central Committee. However, it would be important to control the particular PSC member who would be in charge of this committee. The Youth League faction faces the issue of removing Zhou Yongkang before the 18th National Congress and setting up someone to be the temporary head. It needs to avoid the situation in which the member of Jiang’s faction, Zhang Dejiang, would be sent to Chongqing to control a key post.

“There are some past examples for a person to be promoted to a position on the PSC without first being a member of the Politburo, such as Xi Jinping. (Hu’s man, Ling Jihua, is not yet a Politburo member.)

“The PSC members of the 16th National Congress were: Hu Jintao, Wen Jiabao, Wu Bangguo, Jia Qinglin, Zeng Qinghong, Huang Ju, Wu Guanzheng, Li Changchun, and Luo Gan. The PSC members of the 17th National Congress were: Hu Jintao, Wen Jiabao, Wu Bangguo, Jia Qinglin, Li Changchun, Xi Jinping, Li Keqiang, He Guoqiang, and Zhou Yongkang. Besides Hu, Wen, and Li Keqiang, all of them are from Jiang’s princelings faction.

“Though Jiang Zemin has retired, he still has power. He left no room for Hu Jintao to control the PSC. Even now, after the Bo/Wang international scandal that is hurting Jiang’s faction, the Jiang faction’s list of PSC members for the 18th National Congress is still the same as the 17th National Congress; they can still maintain control and corner Hu Jintao.

“Now Hu, after tolerating Jiang for over ten years, has a chance. The Zhou/Bo case has allowed Hu to gain the upper hand in the Hu/Jiang struggle. The biggest danger is that Hu foregoes this unprecedented opportunity for the sake of maintaining stability. Then he may end up compromising with Jiang’s faction to divide the PSC member seats. That would allow Jiang’s princelings faction to get more power and Hu would have trouble later.”

II. Hu Jintao’s Faction Is Charging Ahead

A. A Message from People’s Daily: Zhou Yongkang Is in Danger

By reading the CCP’s mouthpiece, People’s Daily, one may get the message that Zhou Yongkang is in danger. In the past, Li Changchun, a Politburo member in charge of propaganda and a member of Jiang’s faction, controlled People’s Daily. The fact that People’s Daily could send a negative message about Zhou Yongkang indicates that Hu and Wen have taken over control of it.

On the front page of the April 26 issue of People’s Daily, a report covered eight out of the nine PSC members, but Zhou Yongkong was not mentioned. The list went from Hu Jintao all the way to He Guoqiang, who was ranked ninth among the PSC members. Even the font and length of the report for each member were carefully arranged. [7].

On the front page of the April 28 issue of People’s Daily, the same thing happened. Eight out of the nine PSC members, except Zhou Yongkang, were mentioned. Epoch Times reported this as another way of humiliating Zhou [8]. “If the April 26 newspaper was just an accident, the April 28 issue could not have been explained as yet another accident.”

B. State Media Reports

Some state media also published articles with stronger language, stressing that “bad apples” in the Party would be punished.

A People’s Daily article on April 14 [9] hinted at severe punishment for Bo Xilai and Zhou Yongkang (if he is taken down as well):

“When someone has power, the rule-by-law principle becomes ‘applicable to others but not to himself.’ Thus these people challenged the law. The law must punish those actions that violate legal standards and ignore the legal system.

“A country can’t be managed without the law. People can’t behave without the law. In our socialist rule-by-law state, everyone is equal before the law. Cadres should set an example by following the law. Comrade (Deng) Xiaoping said, ‘No matter who violates the law, the police should investigate him and the legal system should process him. No one is allowed to interfere with the implementation of law; and no criminal is allowed to escape from legal punishment.’ No one has a special privilege to abuse power for his own benefit. No one can have a hope that ‘high-ranking officials will not be punished.’”

On April 24, 2012, Xinhua published an article titled, “The Key to Maintaining the Party’s Purity Is to Manage the Party Strictly” [10]:

“To maintain the Party’s purity, … first, (we) must focus on maintaining the purity of the Party’s thoughts and strictly educate Party members. … To those who say one thing and do another or those who make open statements that deviate from the Party’s basic theories and policies, (we) should criticize and educate them seriously and punish the severe offenders with organizational warnings or disciplinary actions.

“Second, (we) should focus on maintaining the purity of the organization and strictly manage the party’s membership… We need to keep the ‘exit’ open. (We) should identify, handle, and cleanse the party’s ‘tumors’ in a timely fashion to keep the Party’s organization pure.

“Third, (we) should focus on maintaining the Party’s work style and strictly educate, monitor, and enforce the Party’s discipline. … For violations of discipline in the areas of politics, organization, non-corruption, and public relations; for actions against the principle of democratic centralism; and for local government protection from ignoring the central government’s policies, (the Party) must take strict disciplinary action, and not forgive them…”

III. Jiang’s Faction Fights Back

A. Jiang Is Reported to Have Cancer

Epoch Times reported that Jiang Zemin had liver cancer and has become a vegetable, relying on drugs to keep him alive. Also among Jiang’s faction, Liu Jing has throat cancer and Zhou Yongkang has bladder cancer. [11]

B. Jiang Returns to the Political Stage

Since Bo has been removed and Zhou’s position is precarious, Jiang’s faction is in a shaky political position. Jiang was brought back “alive” to the political arena to counter Hu and Wen, though there had been reports that he was in a vegetative state and he had not been seen in public for several months.

Mingpao reported that Jiang Zemin met Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz in Beijing on April 17, 2012 [12]:

“A report indicated that this meeting was designed to show the world that Jiang Zemin was still in good health and would be actively involved in the arrangements for the 18th National Congress of the CCP.

“U.S. businessman Bill Bishop was the first person who reported the meeting. He said that a friend of his told him that Jiang had recently met several foreign delegations that were visiting Beijing. Though he was not able to verify the information, he believed that his friend was trustworthy.

“The spokesperson for Starbucks Shanghai Office, Wang Xingrong, had ‘no comment’ about the report. China’s Foreign Affairs Ministry also responded with ‘no information.’

“A commentator wrote on his blog that Jiang Zemin used the tactic of ‘exporting then selling back to the domestic market,’ (Editor’s note: using a meeting with foreigners to send a message back to the Chinese people) to tell China that he still has substantial influence over the 18th National Congress as well as the handling of Bo Xilai’s case.”

Many media quoted a report that suggested Jiang came to Beijing to resolve the political deadlock [13]:

“Recently, according to information from a People’s Liberation Army (PLA) high-ranking official, from March 15, when Bo Xilai was removed as Chongqing Party chief, until April 10, the PSC had several meetings to discuss how to handle Bo’s case. Since the ‘pro-Bo’ faction and the ‘anti-Bo’ faction had an equal number in the PSC, they ran into a deadlock. Jiang Zemin, who was in Shanghai, came back to Beijing in early April, to resolve the political deadlock and ensure the smooth opening of the 18th National Congress.

“According to the (same) military source, Jiang didn’t meet the nine PSC members immediately upon arriving in Beijing. Instead, he met the military generals several times and told them to follow his direction. Then, on April 9, all nine PSC members came to the Central Military Committee’s office in Xi Mountain in Beijing to report their different views to Jiang on how to handle Bo. After listening to their reports, Jiang stated that Bo was suspected of having violated Party discipline and his wife was suspected of having violated the law. He said, ‘(The Party) can suspend Bo from his position and let the Central Disciplinary Committee investigate. After the investigation produces convincing results, then (the PSC can) decide what to do.’

“Jiang stated that Hu Jintao’s suspicions that Bo secretly colluded with someone in the top leadership to topple Xi Jinping showed that Hu Jintao cared about Xi Jinping and actively supported Xi’s taking over power at the 18th National Congress. Jiang suggested they focus on letting Xi take power completely and argued that, once Xi had the reigns, he would establish his authority over the Party, the military, and the country. Then no one would have the capability, power, or incentive to topple him. Jiang asked Hu to promise at the PSC meeting that he would pass (all of his titles, including) the titles of the General Secretary of the Party and Chairman of the Central Military Committee to Xi at the 18th National Congress and that Xi would be the President of the country next year at the National People’s Congress.

“Hu was silent. He had to say something, so he said that he agreed in principle to the transfer of all power to Xi Jinping at the 18th National Congress. However, there was still a lot of work needing to be done, especially the resolution of the Bo Xilai incident. Hu suggested delaying the 18th National Congress.

“Jiang suggested it be held as planned. If they did not, it would have a large impact on the Party and make people think that there was something wrong within the Party. It would make people panic, give the foreign hostile forces the opportunity to split the Party, and give more time to those people in the Party who really want to topple Xi Jinping.

“The meeting lasted until the early morning on April 10. A uniform decision was reached to mention Bo’s case only as an economic and criminal problem, but not as a political problem. This led to the top-down level-by-level passing down of messages in the Party on the afternoon of April 10 and the Central Committee’s announcement that night of suspending Bo’s work and investigating him.”

The China Times report [14]:

“It was reported that when Jiang Zemin returned to Beijing, he didn’t meet directly with the PSC members, but rather, he met first with the high-ranking generals of the military. His tone in talking with them was as hard as when Mao Zedong plotted to take down Lin Biao [15].

“Jiang mentioned a standard: how to tell if a person really supports Xi Jinping is to see if he supports Xi to become the General Secretary of the Party and Chairman of the Central Military Commission. Whoever uses excuses to delay Xi’s becoming the Chairman of the Central Military Commission would be the one who wanted to topple Xi. (Editor’s note: Jiang delayed his power transition to Hu by holding the title of “Chairman of the Central Military Commission” for two more years. There has been widespread speculation that Hu would do the same thing to Xi.)

“Jiang said there were traitors inside the Central Committee who colluded with foreign hostile forces. The media is totally one-sided, which is not right. This is a common tactic that the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency uses.”

C. Bo Xilai’s Side of the Story

Bo Xilai’s side posted a version of events on the web [16]:

“Wang Zheng, a female teacher at a college in Beijing, published an open letter claiming that she had met one of Bo Xilai’s family members. She disclosed some information that was different from what the main media reported.

“She said that Bo Xilai’s ‘several years of heavy metal poisoning’ and Gu Kailai’s skin cancer were both rumors. Bo’s family worried that he would be poisoned with heavy metal during his current detention (since someone spread that rumor).

“She stated that it was not Wang Lijun’s idea to go to the U.S. Consulate in Chengdu. He received a phone call from the Central Committee and was told that there was a Tibetan monk in the consulate. Wang was asked to go there to bring him out. He was also told not to take a government car. Later, when Chongqing Mayor Huang Qifan went to the consulate, Wang told Huang this. Wang Zheng said that this was what Bo’s family member told her and that she obtained permission to publish it. But when she met this family member again, she was told not to publish the information, or else Bo and Gu would not be released.”

D. Gu Kailai’s side of the Story

The Hong Kong-based Standard published an exclusive story from Gu Kailai’s point of view in which she tried to gain public sympathy by claiming that she had cancer [17]:

“The wife of disgraced former Chongqing chief Bo Xilai is suffering from bone cancer and has only a short time to live.”

According to a source in Beijing, that might have explained the sudden change in the character of Gu Kailai, 53, who is accused of murdering British businessman Neil Heywood.

The source stated that Gu’s character changed so much “since her illness,” that she has been accused of “promiscuity” and flirting, adding that this raised the question whether Beijing would execute her even if she were found guilty of murder.

“‘She doesn’t have much longer to live … maybe a year or two,’ the source said.”

IV. People Involved in the Bo/Zhou Case

A. Li Changchun

According to a Boxun report [18], an investigation of Fu Yanbin, Chairman of the Dalian Zhengyuan Real Estate Development Company, who was arrested due to his connection to Bo Xilai, revealed that Li Changchun was the beneficiary of the company’s illegal real estate transactions:

“According to people who are familiar with the case, Fu confessed during the interrogation that Li Changchun directly helped Zhengyuan to obtain land at a low price. Li Changchun’s younger brother, Li Changqi, was the Vice Chairman of Zhengyuan. Fu said that Li would make phone calls himself to the proper parties to arrange for Zhengyuan to buy land at a low price and sell at a high price. This practice has gone on for ten years—until the present time.”

B. Chen Yuan

Chen Yuan, the head of China Development Bank (CDB), was reported to be involved with Bo Xilai. CDB has invested heavily in Chongqing, including a total of 51 billion yuan (U.S. $8.1 billion) on Chongqing’s “two beltways and eight rays” road construction project and 11 billion yuan on the light rail project. Also, many State-Owned-Enterprises (SOEs) used their holdings of Chongqing companies as collateral to obtain CDB loans. CDB now holds 715 million shares of such businesses. “No other province is supported by CDB the way Chongqing is.” Chen Yuan was the son of Chen Yun, a former top CCP leader and Deng Xiaoping’s rival. Chen Yun had a good relationship with Bo Xilai’s father, Bo Yibo. Also Chen Yuan’s daughter, Chen Xiaodan, and Bo Xilai’s son, Bo Guagua, are close to each other. [19]

C. Zhou Bin

Zhou Bin, Zhou Yongkang’s son, was reported to have received a lot of money with Bo Xilai’s help [20]:

“According to information from Sichuan Province and China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC), with Bo Xilai’s major support, Zhou Bin obtained personal wealth of 20 billion yuan (U.S. $3.1 billion).

“Zhou Bin also helped many officials from CPNC, Chongqing, and Sichuan to get promoted. Bo Xilai gave Zhou projects in Chongqing worth 40 billion yuan, letting Zhou make nearly 10 billion yuan in profit. Zhou has also received many bribes, business commissions, and cash from the officials he helped. On top of that, he also transferred cash to overseas accounts and bought real estate properties overseas. Zhou has 18 properties in Beijing, including palace-style mansions in the east, west, and northern suburbs of Beijing. A mansion is worth 200 million yuan (U.S. $32 million) before it has been decorated.”

There was also a report that Zhou Bin took bribes to help criminals get out of prison [21]:

“According to informed sources, Zhou Bin was suspected of accepting a bribe of 20 million yuan in cash and then helping to get the number two leader of the largest gang in Gansu Province out of prison. The man in prison was suspected of murdering people and cutting their chests open to take out their hearts.

“Zhou was also suspected of accepting money to interfere in legal proceedings. In Gansu, Shanxi, and Liaoning provinces, he received money and then saw that some incredibly significant cases were not properly tried.

“For example, a case that went to the Supreme Court involved a police officer who poured boiling water over a suspect from head to toe. The person was burned to death. After accepting 100 million yuan in bribes, Zhou assisted the policeman in avoiding any punishment. This case is now part of the Supreme Court’s records.”

D. Fang Binxing

Fang Binxing, President of Beijing University of Posts and Telecommunications [22], was involved in assisting Zhou Yongkang and Bo Xilai in buying equipment to spy on PSC members. Fang was the primary architect of China’s Great Firewall (the firewall that blocks overseas Internet information that contains content that the Chinese government does not want its citizen to see). Netizens jokingly call him the “Father of China’s Firewall.”

The Japanese Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper reported that, according to sources familiar with the information, Fang was arrested on April 25. Some earlier reports mentioned that Fang was suspected of being involved in Bo Xilai’s “bribery using money and women” and spying on top leaders. “The report said that Liu Guanglei, the Party secretary of Chongqing’s Political and Legal Committee, had a special phone line connecting to Hu Jintao’s office. Wang Lijun found out about it and had been tapping it for a long time. Bo started his practice of spying several years ago. The spy expenditures were covered as part of the state’s funding to develop a system to monitor the public. The ‘engineer’ for the monitoring system was Wang Lijun. Fang Binxing was one of the Internet security experts for the system.” [23]

Fang responded on his microblog on April 26: “Oh, (I) read Yomiuri Shimbun’s news about me. (I can’t believe that a) newspaper with such a big name would creates lies! I will maintain my right to sue it for lying. (I) want a public apology from the reporter.”

Li Kaifu, former head of Microsoft’s China operations and Google’s China operations, joked about Fang’s involvement in designing the Great Firewall by responding: “It’s too complicated to sue. ‘Firewall’ it!”

Fang replied, “It’s no use to mention a hero’s past achievements. Since I am no longer in that position, I don’t get involved in that business (of blocking news reports). Now I can only sue over it. Ha-ha.” [24]

E. Xu Ming

Xu Ming, Chairman of Dalian Shide Company, was one of Bo Xilai’s main business associates. Shide grew rapidly from a small factory to a big company and owns the Dalian Soccer Team. Bo used his political power to help Xu Ming accumulate wealth, and, in return, Xu gave Bo a large amount of money.

“Xu formed Dalian Shide PVC Industry Limited in August 1995. On December 31, 1995, Xu registered the Dalian Shide PVC Door and Window Factory. In 1996, Dalian City issued a ‘Mayor’s Order’ (Bo was the mayor) directing that all buildings along 30 major traffic routes in nearly 200 neighborhood communities must use PVC doors and windows. … The government’s support and the bank’s loans enabled Shide to expand its product tenfold from 1998 to 2001. By 1999, then 28-year-old Xu Ming became the youngest Chinese magnate on Forbes’ Rich People’s list.” [25]

“According to people familiar with the information, when Xu Ming was detained and interrogated, he offered the information that Bo Xilai had condoned corrupt practices in the soccer games, such as the referee making wrong calls and the team purposely losing.

Xu also confessed that Bo ordered him to collude with the Macao car racing gambling industry to launder money and give a share of the laundered gambling money to Bo.” [26]

F. Wang Jianlin

Wang Jianlin, Chairman of the Dalian Wanda Group, was another of Bo’s business associate. When Bo was the mayor of Dalian, he provided Wang with a large amount of land and adopted many policies that favored his business. Thus Wang accumulated enormous wealth. Bo Xilai later became the Commerce Minister. The Commerce Ministry has the power to approve commercial development projects in China. Wang was able to take advantage of this approval power to enter the commercial real estate business, build Western-style commercial business centers, and establish a monopoly over China’s commercial real estate development. After Bo moved to Chongqing, Wang followed him and developed eight comprehensive commercial centers in Chongqing (which is even more than the number in Shanghai). [27]

V. Baidu Colluded with Bo and Zhou to Drive Google Out of China

Epoch Times published a detailed report on how Zhou Yongkang and Bo Xilai plotted to drive Google out of China to enable Baidu to control China’s Internet search engine market. In return, Baidu made certain information available to Bo. This included information on corruption related to Hu Jintao, Wen Jiabao, and Xi Jinping’s family members. [28] The story goes as follows:

In 2009, Bo Xilai asked Jiang Zhi, Manager of Baidu’s Chongqing Office, to set up a meeting with Baidu CEO Li Yanhong in Beijing. Bo offered Li a plan to help Baidu suppress its competitor Google and monopolize China’s Internet search engine market. According to the Central Disciplinary Committee’s interrogation record, Jiang Zhi said that Li Yanhong was so excited that he stood up to bow to Bo Xilai. Bo promised that, in 2009, he would drive Google out of China. He asked Baidu to cooperate with Chongqing and lift the bans on reports from overseas pro-Jiang media that would ruin the reputations of Hu and Wen and, especially, of Xi Jinping. Li agreed.

On June 18, 2009, China Internet Illegal Information Reporting Center published an article titled, “Strongly Condemning Google for Spreading Obscene and Indecent Information.” It criticized Google China for containing a “large amount of obscene and indecent information” and for helping to spread bad information throughout China.

That same day, Zhou Yongkang ordered National Security staff to summon Google China’s head to appear for a law-enforcement “conversation” over Google China’s obscene contents, announced a fine applicable to Google China, and suspended both its ability to search overseas contents and its autocomplete feature that would present the users with the option of searching key words based on what they typed. (Editor’s Note: The combination of these two things can enable the Chinese Internet users to view Beijing-censored contents.)

China’s “relevant office” commented that the many foreign websites that Google represented made available a large volume of indecent content in China. It decided to spend 42 million yuan (U.S. $6.7 million) to develop the Green Dam software (Editor’s Note: a censorship software installed on individual computers in order to block web pages that contain banned words).

Interestingly enough, on June 21, Baidu’s spokesperson Zhu Guang said that Google’s being criticized had nothing to do with Baidu and Baidu had no comments about Google’s case.
After China Central Television (CCTV) broadcast a program about Google’s obscene contents, netizens responded negatively. Most comments said that Google was set up. Some people pointed directly at Baidu. Some thought it was to create an excuse to disseminate the Green Dam software.

The netizens’ overwhelming reaction reached top CCP leaders. Both Wen Jiabao and Xi Jinping gave orders to “carefully handle the relationship between international Internet media and the Chinese government.” The “Google is obscene” incident thus quickly and quietly ended.

Li Yanhong was unhappy with and worried about the failure of this attempt. In early July 2009, Baidu stopped reporting on the corruption in Xi Jinping’s family.

Bo ordered four Chongqing companies to transfer money that he obtained through the “striking the black” campaign to Baidu’s account for “supporting the promotion of Baidu searches.” By end of 2009, these four companies had given Baidu 230 million yuan (U.S. $37 million). In early October 2009, Bo assured Li Yanhong, by communicating through Baidu’s Chongqing Office Deputy General Manager Zhang Fengqi, “I have a (new) plan to drive Google out of China.” In October, Baidu started showing the corruption reports about Xi Jinping again.

In the middle of December 2009, Zhou Yongkang personally orchestrated a hacker attack against Google’s Gmail. Hackers concentrated on stealing Chinese human rights advocates’ emails from Gmail. Google engineers traced the attack back to the Chinese government or its agents.

Facing the intense hacker attack and threat, Google didn’t yield. On January 12, 2010, Google published “A new approach to China” on its official blog, stating that it was considering removing the censorship on

On March 23, 2010, Google headquarters announced that the Gmail attack and China’s restriction on Internet freedom had made it decide that it would not continue self-censorship on Google China’s two URLs “” and “” were redirected to a Google Hong Kong URL (, which offered an unfiltered search engine service. Since then, Google has officially left China.

To further attack Google and mislead netizens, Baidu Chief Product Designer Sun Yunfeng published a blog calling Google a “money-grubber,” and blamed it for sugarcoating the real reason for its exit, “due to financial reasons,” with the “Gmail account attack” excuse. He said that he felt “sick” about Google. The article was disseminated widely over China’s websites.

Baidu successfully occupied the vacuum that Google left in the Chinese market.

Zhou Yongkang and Bo Xilai ordered Chinese media to spread the report: “Google exits China for financial reasons.” They also used the overseas Chinese and English media that they had purchased and owned to spread this rumor in order to mislead the whole world.

In March 2010, Bo Xilai and Zhou Yongkang met Li Yanhong separately. According to the Central Disciplinary Committee’s interrogation record, they had created “a comprehensive Internet propaganda plan to attack Hu Jintao, Wen Jiabao, and Xi Jinping.”

Baidu kept the ban on negative news about Hu, Wen, and Xi when the search was by the Chinese characters for their names, but when entering their names in pinyin, “hujintao,” “wenjiabao,” or “xijinping,” negative news about them would flow forth, including “Hu Jintao’s son was seriously corrupt, Jiang Zemin decided to investigate,” “Xi Jinping is dissolute and pursues women,” etc. After Beijing time 1 a.m., Baidu News (, Baidu Knows (, Baidu Personal Posting (, and Baidu Community ( would show many items of negative news about Xi, Hu, and Wen. Many netizens followed and posted comments about them. Around 8 a.m., all negative information disappeared.

Many netizens who didn’t understand Baidu’s real intent posted blogs and microblogs to praise Baidu, but their postings were erased. Zhou and Bo’s Internet spies posted information claiming that the deletion of these postings was due to pressure from “relevant offices,” a hint that Hu, Wen, and Xi were the behind this Internet censorship.

A Telegraph report on December 4, 2010, opened with the statement, “Classified information sent by US diplomats to the State Department in Washington and published on Wikileaks,” confirmed that Communist party leaders orchestrated the attack on Google. [29]

“The allegation that the attack on Google was orchestrated by Communist party leaders has not been revealed until now.

“The politician is accused of acting with a second member of the politburo in an attempt to force Google to drop a link from its Chinese-language search engine to its uncensored version.

“One cable from the US embassy in Beijing, marked as secret, records that attempts to break into the accounts of dissidents who used Google’s Gmail system had been coordinated ‘with the oversight of’ the two politburo members.”

[1] Financial Times, Bo ally gives up China security roles, May 13, 2012.
[2] Epoch Times Online, “[Exclusive] Stories Behind the Succession by Xi Jinping, the Truth Will Soon Be Exposed to the Public,” April 15, 2012.
[3] Zeng Qinghong was Jiang Zemin’s “advisor” and close ally in the CCP leadership circle. He served as the Vice President of China and a PSC member of the 16th National Congress of the CCP.
[4] Xi Zhongxun was a prominent CCP leader during Deng Xiaoping’s era.
[5] NTDTV Online, “Hu and Jiang’s Plan for the CCP’s 18th National Congress – A Zero-Sum Game,” April 29, 2012.
[6] Reuters, “Insight – With Bo Xilai down, nine leaders who may soon run China,” March 16, 2012.
[7] Epoch Times Online, “People’s Daily April 26 Newspaper’s Front Page Hinted Zhou Yongkang Will Be Punished,” April 28, 2012.
[8] Epoch Times Online, “Eight of the Nine Politburo Standing Committee Members Showed up in People’s Daily, Zhou Yongkang Was Humiliated Again,” April 28, 2012.
[8] People’s Daily Online, “A country can’t be managed without law. People can’t behave without law,” April 14, 2012.
[10] Xinhua, “The Key to Maintain the Party’s Purity Is to Manage the Party Strictly,” April 24, 2012.
[11] Epoch Times Online, “Jiang Zemin, Zhou Yongkang, and Liu Jing Had Cancers, the ‘Blood Debt Faction’ Receives Retribution,” April 17, 2012.
[12] MSN Hong Kong, “Jiang Zemin Proves That He Is Healthy by Meeting Starbucks CEO, Showing That He Will Be Involved in the Personnel Arrangements for the 18th National Congress,” April 21, 2012.
[13], “Jiang Zemin Made the Call to Suspend Bo Xilai, Hu Jintao Was Forced to Promise to Relinquish All His Titles at the 18th National Congress,” April 19, 2012.
[14] China Times Online, “The 18th National Congress of the CCP Faces Changes, Jiang Zemin Showed up in Beijing to Support Xi Jinping,” April 22, 2012.
[15] Lin Biao (林彪), once the number two person in China. In 1971, Mao Zedong decided to remove him. Mao started by taking a tour to the southern provinces and talking to provincial leaders about someone at the Central Committee not listening to him.
[16] VOA Online, “Wang Zheng Claimed to Have Met Bo’s Family Member and that Someone in the Central Committee Tricked Wang Lijun,” April 28, 2012.
[17] The Standard, “Bo wife dying from cancer,” April 19, 2012.
[18] Boxun, “Real Estate Businessman Fu Yanbin Who Was Arrested Due to Bo Xilai’s Case Revealed Li Changchun,” April 28, 2012.
[19] Wenxue City, “The Disastrous Bo Xilai Also Harmed Chen Yun, CDB Trapped Deeply in Chongqing,” May 3, 2012.
[20] Mingjing News, “Mingjing Exclusive: Zhou Yongkang’s Son Zhou Bin Amassed a Personal Wealth of 20 Billion Yuan,” April 11, 2011.
[21] Epoch Times Online, “Zhou Yongkang’s Scandals Are Widely Spreading, His Son Zhou Bin’s Evildoing Are Exposed,” April 13, 2012.
[22] Wikipedia, “Fang Binxing.”
[23] Wenxue City, “Even Yomiuri Shimbun Was Cheated By the Chinese,” April 26, 2012.
[24] Weibo, “Fang Binxing.”
[25] Epoch Times Online, “Another Major Source of Money for Bo Xilai,” May 6, 2012.
[26] Boxun, “Xu Ming Confessed: Bo Xilai Condoned Soccer Corruption and Used Macao Car Racing Gamble to Launder Money,” April 28, 2012.
[27] Epoch Times Online, “Another Major Source of Money for Bo Xilai,” May 6, 2012.
[28] Epoch Times Online, “Baidu Involved in Top Officials Fight (1),” April 28, 2012.
[29] Telegraph Online, “Top Chinese officials ordered attack on Google, Wikileaks cables claim,” December 4, 2010.