Tangling with the Chinese Dragon

Bo XilaiFinding truthful information about China is a challenging experience. I’m doing doctoral level work at a large private university about the Chinese political system and believe me when I tell you it is a nightmarish experience. Trusting official Chinese sources on anything is an exercise in futility. Totalitarian governments tend to deal in lies and distortions, and the Chinese government has turned falsehood into an art form. To make matters worse, the censorship of non-government sites in China is heavy-handed and quick. A bit of information goes up that the government officials don’t like and almost immediately all of the sites go down or are blocked with a warning sign. It’s maddening when I’m trying to get solid information to earn my degree. What all of this means is that I must use a little intelligence and some tenacity when looking for the information I need to do my work.

It’s quite fortunate that the Internet works to find pathways around even the most onerous censorship. As soon as the Chinese government blocks a site, two more pop up with the censored information. Oftentimes, you’ll get good commentary on what is actually going on. Continue reading Tangling with the Chinese Dragon

Wife of Bo Xiai – an Honest Accusation or All About Politics?

China's Bo Xilai emerges from scandal cloud | Deseret NewsThe trial of Bo Xilai’s wife is currently underway in China. This landmark case involves Mrs. Gu who is accused of poisoning Neil Haywood, a national businessman. Far from the traditional criminal case, this involves widespread speculation that her accusal was brought about specifically to topple her husband, a formerly powerful politician in the Chinese rigime.

Mrs. Gu is currently standing before a panel of three judges, and the burden is on her to prove her innocence. Her chances are not good, as more than 95 percent of criminal cases in China end with a guilty verdict. If she is sentenced, penalties could be harsh. Her husband could also be viewed as a conspirator, and he may not escape punishment either. Past murder cases have resulted in the swift execution of those charged, and that might possibly be the fate of this family as well.

While no murder crime deserves to go unpunished, this one is far from the traditional case. Continue reading Wife of Bo Xiai – an Honest Accusation or All About Politics?