As for the extra-cunning Jiang Zemin, he was always a master in using the dreaded Central Commission for Discipline Inspection to enhance his power and get rid of any opposition. Jiang was determined to clear the way for Xi Jinping. Jiang and his gang purged all of Hu Jintao's allies in the Politburo and placed his own allies -- thus extending his behind the curtain influence until at least 2022. Bo Xilai -- too much of a loose cannon -- simply could not be trusted.
The Politburo Standing Committee now has only seven members, instead of nine (average age -- 63.4 years). The rationale is that it will become "more efficient," with less fighting among factions. The seat formerly held by Zhou Yongkang -- the next target of the new leadership -- no longer exists. Zhou controlled no less than law enforcement, the judiciary and national security; his budget was bigger than the PLA's -- the Chinese military. Now these attributions will be spread out among other Politburo members.
Life at the Bo hotel
The bottom line; if this was really about corruption, the overwhelming majority of the CCP leadership would have to be on trial -- as corruption permeates virtually every level of party and government business in China.
Bo and his lawyers have 10 days to file an appeal. Nothing will come out of it. Yet it won't exactly be a "life" sentence. In two years, in case Bo has made an "extraordinary contribution," the sentence may be commuted to 15-20 years. From the point of view of the CCP leadership, the only thing that matters is that Bo won't be released before the 20th party congress in 2022 -- when current President Xi Jinping will "retire" as party chief.
Bo's new digs will be at Qincheng prison, in the hills north of Beijing (no barbed wire, no watchtowers). Bao Tong, a former secretary to the Politburo Standing Committee who spent seven years in Qincheng because he was against the 1989 crackdown on Tiananmen, has been having a ball telling Western media it's "like a five-star hotel."
This means a 20-square meter cell (actually bigger than subdivided flats in Hong Kong); milk in the morning, soup and two dishes for lunch and dinner; no need to wear an orange jumpsuit; but total monitoring -- with all "activities" directly reported to the CCP's central committee. It's like being a Mob boss in jail in the US; whatever they want, they get. The difference is the CCP is the decider.
So welcome to the Hotel Bo Xilai; you can check out any time you like, but you may only leave after 2022, to be placed under house arrest for the rest of your days. According to Bao, Bo will live "next to a lake, or by the sea." Bo Xilai may not fulfill his dream to ascend to the Politburo Standing Committee. But he could always flirt with something more glamorous; to pen a Chinese version of Breaking Bad, and to get Zhang Yimou to take it to the limit.
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