“Bo’s Downfall Is Tied to Wiretapping”

Alright, this one might be the most definitive account of exactly what got Bo in so much trouble- as it turns out, people speculating that the death of Mr. Heywood was just an excuse may have been pretty close to the truth. Nothing new about Zhou Yongkang, although note the allegations that Fang Binxing may have been involved, which could mean that we’ll end up seeing another enormously satisfying casualty before this thing ends:

When Hu Jintao, China’s top leader, picked up the telephone last August to talk to a senior anticorruption official visiting Chongqing, special devices detected that he was being wiretapped — by local officials in that southwestern metropolis.

The discovery of that and other wiretapping led to an official investigation that helped topple Chongqing’s charismatic leader, Bo Xilai, in a political cataclysm that has yet to reach a conclusion.

Nearly a dozen sources with party ties, speaking anonymously for fear of retribution, confirmed the wiretapping, as well as a widespread program of bugging across Chongqing. But the party’s public version of Mr. Bo’s fall omits it.

The murder account is pivotal to the scandal, providing Mr. Bo’s opponents with an unassailable reason to have him removed. But party insiders say the wiretapping was seen as a direct challenge to central authorities. It revealed to them just how far Mr. Bo, who is now being investigated for serious disciplinary violations, was prepared to go in his efforts to grasp greater power in China. That compounded suspicions that Mr. Bo could not be trusted with a top slot in the party, which is due to reshuffle its senior leadership positions this fall.

The architect was Mr. Wang, a nationally decorated crime-fighter who had worked under Mr. Bo in the northeast province of Liaoning. Together they installed “a comprehensive package bugging system covering telecommunications to the Internet,” according to the government media official.

One of several noted cyber-security experts they enlisted was Fang Binxing, president of Beijing University of Posts and Telecommunications, who is often called the father of China’s “Great Firewall,” the nation’s vast Internet censorship system.

“Bo wanted to push the responsibility onto Wang,” one senior party official said. “Wang couldn’t dare say it was Bo’s doing.”

Yet at some point well before fleeing Chongqing, Mr. Wang filed a pair of complaints to the inspection commission, the first anonymously and the second under his own name, according to a party academic with ties to Mr. Bo.

Both complaints said Mr. Bo had “opposed party central” authorities, including ordering the wiretapping of central leaders. The requests to investigate Mr. Bo were turned down at the time. Mr. Bo, who learned of the charges at a later point, told the academic shortly before his dismissal that he thought he could withstand Mr. Wang’s charges.

Alright, if Zhou Yongkang is still going to coast through this one, having Fang Binxing disgraced and blacklisted by Beijing would be almost as good. He may have survived having a pair of shoes thrown at him by a Chinese student, but surviving the aftermath of colluding with a surveillance scheme aimed at Zhongnanhai might be harder.

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Filed under 2012 power transfer, Chongqing Model/Bo Xilai, surveillance

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