As of about 0945 PDT, neither CNN.com nor the Google News front page are mentioning anything about this (possible) story that has apparently been going for a few days, which strikes me as a bit of a omission, given that there are rumors of a coup in the world’s most populous nation….
Last week, controversial politician Bo Xilai, whose relatively open campaigning for a seat on China’s top ruling council shocked China watchers (and possibly his elite peers, as well), was removed from his post as Chongqing’s party secretary. He hasn’t been seen since. Rumors of a coup, possibly coordinated by Bo’s apparent ally Zhou Yongkang, are in the air.
While Western media has been covering the rumors, this was the first I’d heard of it. I’ll be the first to admit near-total ignorance on the workings of the Chinese leadership system and Communist party, but the impression I’m getting is that the normally smooth transition process there is hitting some bumps on the road. Apparently so far the “coup” talk is just rumors and speculation, flying around Twitter and Chinese-language social media sites. The Chinese government has been extensively filtering news about Bo and other events connected to the rumors, so it’s extremely hard to tell what’s going on.
Regardless of whether this all turns out to be so much smoke up you-know-where, it’s worth remembering that this is what you get when your political system is completely opaque to scrutiny. It’s fair to bemoan the circus-like atmosphere of our own political system, it beats the alternative any day.