Topping the headlines across China’s media today is the removal of Chongqing’s former Party chief, Bo Xilai (薄熙来), from his posts in the Politburo and in the larger Central Committee [See AFP report in English here]. According to a news release, or tong’gao (通稿), posted by the official Xinhua News Agency late last night, “Comrade Bo Xilai” now faces investigation for “serious discipline violations.”
According to a separate Xinhua release made last night at 11pm and also being posted across major internet portals today (in some cases patched with the release on Bo Xilai), these “discipline violations” stem from the February 6 “Wang Lijun incident” (王立军事件) and the apparent murder in November 2011 of British national Neil Heywood in Chongqing.
As of 11:14am today, the Xinhua News Agency website still features the Bo Xilai release in its prominent “Xinhua Headline” section above the day’s main news stories.
Readers who click on the Xinhua headline, “Party Central Committee Decides to Investigate Comrade Bo Xilai for Serious Discipline Violations,” are taken to last night’s brief Xinhua release:
Given serious discipline violations involving Comrade Bo Xilai (薄熙来), the Central Committee of the CCP has decided, according to stipulations made in the Constitution of the Communist Party of China and Inspection Regulations for CCP Discipline Inspection Bodies (中国共产党纪律检查机关案件检查工作条例), to terminate [Bo Xilai's] service in posts in the Political Bureau of the Central Committee and as a member of the Central Committee, and to carry out an investigation [of Bo's conduct] through the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection.
QQ.com, the popular internet portal site run by Tencent, has posted the Xinhua release on Bo Xilai’s removal from the Politburo and tacked on the separate release on the investigation into the death of British national Neil Heywood.
So here is how QQ.com’s coverage of the story looks today on the front page of the news section, followed by a full translation of the combined Xinhua releases:
April 10, 2012, 11pm, Xinhua News Agency
Xinhua News Agency, Beijing, April 10 dispatch — Given serious discipline violations involving Comrade Bo Xilai (薄熙来), the Central Committee of the CCP has decided, according to stipulations made in the Constitution of the Communist Party of China and Inspection Regulations for CCP Discipline Inspection Bodies (中国共产党纪律检查机关案件检查工作条例), to terminate [Bo Xilai's] service in posts in the Political Bureau of the Central Committee and as a member of the Central Committee, and to carry out an investigation [of Bo's conduct] through the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection.
Public Security Organs are Re-opening an Investigation into the death of Neil Heywood
The Xinhua News Agency learned from relevant departments that after the February 6 incident in which Wang Lijun personally entered and was held (滞留) at the American consulate in Chengdu, public security organs gave a high level of priority to the case mentioned by Wang Lijun of the November 15, 2011, discovery of the death of British national Neil Heywood in Chongqing, and they formed a review team to investigate according to the law, with a factual mindset.
That investigation revealed that Bogu Kailai (薄谷开来) — the wife of Comrade Bo Xilai — and her son had previously had a strong relationship with Neil Heywood, but due to issues of economic interest tensions [between both sides] gradually worsened.
Through a process of review, the current evidence proves that Neil Heywood was murdered, and Bogu Kailai and Zhang Xiaojun (张晓军) — a servant in the Bo household — are the major criminal suspects.
Bogu Kailai and Zhang Xiaojun have already been transferred to judicial organs on suspicion of the crime of intentional homicide.
Responsible persons at relevant organs say that our nation is a country of socialist rule of law, and the dignity and authority of the law cannot be trampled. Regardless of who they involve, all violations of the law will be handled according to the law, without tolerance.
Sohu.com, another popular internet portal, ran the official Xinhua release on Bo’s removal from the Central Committee along with a People’s Daily editorial dated today, April 11, but released late yesterday by Xinhua. The editorial was titled: “Strongly Supporting the Correct Decisions of the Party Central Committee” (坚决拥护党中央的正确决定).
The People’s Daily editorial is clearly marked as released by Xinhua on April 10, but was posted by a number of sites like Sohu just after midnight. The obvious implication is that all three releases — 1) on Bo Xilai’s removal and investigation, 2) on the investigation into the apparent Neil Heywood murder and 3) the People’s Daily editorial — were timed to top today’s news, precisely as they are doing.
These should be read as three separate shots fired in a single salvo by the current top leadership under, as the official releases drum home, “Comrade Hu Jintao as general secretary.”
On its website, Guangzhou’s Southern Metropolis Daily newspaper patches together all of the releases in exactly the order given above.
A translation of the People’s Daily editorial follows:
Xinhua News Agency, Beijing, April 10 dispatch
April 11 People’s Daily commentary (评论员文章): Strongly Supporting the Correct Decisions of the Party Central Committee
On April 10, the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party initiated an investigation into serious violations of discipline by Comrade Bo Xilai, and public security organs released the results of its investigation into the death of Neil Heywood and transferred the criminal suspect to judicial organs. This thoroughly evinces the spirit of an emphasis on the facts and abiding by rule of law, it is entirely in accord with our Party’s basic requirement of strict governance of the Party (严治党) and the ruling concept of governing the nation according to rule of law. Moreover, it shows that our Party is resolute in maintaining its own purity, it highlights the Party and the government’s resolute preservation of the bright attitude of Party discipline and the laws of the state, and highlights the Party and the government’s purpose of faith in resolutely preserving the fundamental interests of the people . . .
From the facts as they are presently known, we can see that the Wang Lijun incident (王立军事件) is a serious political incident with baneful influence both inside and outside our country. The death of Neil Heywood is a serious criminal case implicating the family members and close colleagues of national leaders, and Bo Xilai’s conduct is in serious violation of Party discipline, resulting in damage to the business of the Party and the state, and having a major damaging impact on the image of the Party and the state. Through the decisions of the Central Committee of the CCP with Hu Jintao as general secretary, a thorough investigation of this incident is being conducted, and is being handled in the strictest fashion, with the circumstances to be revealed in a timely manner. This is a mark of highest responsibility to the cause of the Party and the people, and it is a resolution preservation of socialist rule of law. As the facts testify, our Party represents the interests of the people, and accepts the supervision of the people, and it will not appease acts of corruption but will explore violations of the law and of [Party] discipline.
Our nation is a nation of socialist rule of law, and the dignity and authority of the law cannot be trampled. Regardless of who it involves, or however high their position, if there are violations of Party discipline and the laws of the nation, we will not abide them and will investigate and handle them all. No citizens are accorded special privileges before the law, and the Party does no permit privileged Party members who place themselves above the law. No person can interfere with the process of the law, and any person who has violated the law can be allowed to exist outside the law. Adhering to factual evidence, with the law as the yardstick, a clear and thorough investigation of the Wang Lijun incident, the death of Neil Heywood and the serious discipline violations of Bo Xilai will be carried out in accord with the law and discipline, and the people will see from this our Party’s determination to preserve Party discipline and to rule the nation according to the law.
We must conscientiously unite our thoughts to the spirit of the Central Committee of the Party, closely uniting around the Central Committee with Comrade Hu Jintao as general secretary, holding high the great banner of socialism with Chinese characteristics, directed by the important ideologies of Deng Xiaoping Theory (邓小平理论) and the “Three Represents” (三个代表), carrying out to the full the scientific view of development (科学发展观), keeping to the general working tone of steady advancement (稳中求进), concentrating our energies on construction (聚精会神搞建设), putting our undivided attention toward achieving development, overcoming difficulties through human resourcefulness, working to preserve a favorable situation for reform, development and stability, capturing the victory of the comprehensive building of a moderately prosperous society (小康社会), accelerating the advancement of socialist modernization, greeting the successful convening of the 18th Party Congress with great achievements.