The Bo Xilai Incident will not die a quiet death. The plodding censors in the Chinese government are stirring up the rumor pot, and no one is sure if that is the goal or just a byproduct of incompetence and the absurdity of Web censorship in general. According to a recent CNN article, “Heavy hand of China’s censors fuels online frenzy,” there were even rumors of tanks on the streets of Beijing.
As Bill Bishop puts it,
“In the absence of transparency and credible official media, rumors fly,”
Indeed. A rumor I heard yesterday is even more spectacular and is making the rounds here in Chengdu and slowly inserting itself into the online frenzy. It’s probably as unfounded as anything else out there, but with Tibetan spies, dramatic snatches and behind the scenes high-level political deals, it makes for one of the more entertaining rumors out there.
As a responsible journalist, I should point out that the following is a rumor, unsubstantiated and therefore to be taken for what I believe it is: the makings of a great fiction novel.
This one goes out to E-Minor.
I was defeated on the field of battle, in front of women and friends, by an Afrosamurai Warrior. Not only was I beaten, but the manner in which I fell was particularly humiliating. While I stood transfixed and completely unsure of how to attack this Great Warrior, he danced about and stuck his left foot upside my head. Repeatedly. He laughed as he did this. The women laughed with him and clapped. I was the one reeling in place as the spectators whispered,
And he did, by sweeping my leg and sending me hurtling ass first to the hard dirt. Then he did a little jig and was off to the tents with the ladies and a big bag o dank. I dusted by self off, shook my fist at the heavens and swore revenge.
I didn’t have the confidence to step into the Wang-Bo scandal that has raged across the mainstream Western media (and parts of the Weibosphere) because I just couldn’t confirm anything. And neither can anyone else, but that doesn’t seem to stop them. For the West, the sacking of Wang – or whatever you call having an official hide under the American’s skirts until he is pulled out by bickering National Police Agents and hauled back to Beijing for “questioning” – was basically an attempt by the center to cut into Bo Xilai’s growing power. Nip this whole ‘Singing Red” campaign in the bud, lest it bloom into true Cultural Revolution zealotry and spread across the lush, wet highlands that surround the chaos that Bo currently presides over.
But my confidence has miraculously returned.
I have spoken to a few friends around here who have a better grasp of Chinese politics than I do and have read pretty much everything anyone has written on the subject so now, like the gnome who creeps out of the flame-scarred hut after the dragon has ravished everything and went on to another village, I dare poke my head out to have my say.