Wednesday, February 08, 2012

A Picture Is Worth a Thousand of Words

Because of online censorship, the above emoticon posted on the micro-blog Weibo run by Sina told a following fictional story:

Last night, an individual walked in the US Consulate in Chengdu of Sichuan Province seeking refuge protection. The Consulate was subsequently surrounded by troops enforced with over 70 APCs from neighboring Chongqing, a province-level Metropolitan, led by the Mayor of Chongqing Mr. Hong Qifan. More local police and central government security forces rushed to the scene. After negotiations, the US Consulate released the man. There was an armed standoff between paramilitary forces from Chongqing and security forces loyal to Beijing. In the end, the person was taken by security forces from the central government and flew to Beijing via Chengdu Shuangliu International Airport.

Rumor has it that the man in the above story is Mr. Wang Lijun. Wang was released from the position of Police Chief of Chongqing a few days ago. Wang had been credited for his heavy hand measures in cracking down organized crimes, but was also criticized for human rights abuse in the process.

The portrait to the far right was an official picture of Wang in his new assignment, the deputy Mayor of Chongqing in charge of education. It was discovered by the online community that the picture was a Photoshop job of a dated portrait of Wang (left) when he was the police chief. A suit was laid on top of his uniform, and a pair of glasses was added to fit his new role.

Rumor has it that Wang had been placed under tight control for an unknown period. Up to 11 deputies and aides of Wang had been arrested by the Chongqing Governor Bo Xilai. The new post of Deputy Mayor was only a cover for investigation before Wang would be formally prosecuted. Wang already lost freedom, and was in no position to shoot another 'official' photo. The propaganda department had to Photoshop a new 'official portrait' to make people believe it was yet another normal day. Wang jumped on the opportunity, when Bo ordered Deputy Mayor Wang to inspect a local university as a staged show of harmony, to disguise as another person and flee to neighboring Sichuan Province.

Wang Lijun had been acting as Bo's henchman in Bo's bid for higher power, but also became a political burden. It is said that Bo, sensing dangerous, decided to get rid of Wang.

Bo Xilai, the Chongqing Governor, is known for his Great Revolution style approach, which was a outlier today, even in communist China. Wang's defection is seen as a major setback for Bo's ambition for a higher post in the upcoming Party's National Conference. The 18th CCP National Conference which is expected to be held later this year will decide the Politburo, government and cabinet for the next 10 years.

Today, the office of the Chongqing Government released a brief micro-blog regarding the incident. In a literal translation, it said Wang was placed under a 'vacation-style therapy', a phrase troubled reporters from BBC and CNN alike, trying to figure out an accurate translation. After all, there was no such phrase in Chinese, never before.

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