Sunday, March 25, 2012

One Man's Death that Changed the World, A Tale as Heard on the Weibo

Nick Heywood (a name 'Neil Wood' was used in earlier report) was an otherwise ordinary English butler, who was hired by a wealthy oversea family who aspired British noble lifestyle. Heywood's job was to take care of one young man, a Harrow and Oxford alumni, who is currently study in Harvard. The young man's name is Bo Guagua.

Nick Heywood was found dead in Chongqing, a provincial-level municipality in southeastern China.

It is said Heywood's death triggered the first 'struggle between two lines' within the Chinese Communist Party since the end of the Great Cultural Revolution. The political fight already toppled a member of the strong Politburo. Half of the Chinese celebrated it as a most important victory for liberty in over 40 years; while the other half of Chinese wept as if they lost their sole hope in the higher-up.

The rumor has it that it all started as an ordinary detective story.

Englishman Nick Heywood was found dead in Chongqing. Naturally Wang Lijun, the Chongqing police chief, a legendarily decorated detective tried to dig out the truth. Clues led to the woman of house, mother of the young man whom Heywood had been attending to. The woman's name was Gu Kailai. Gu, a daughter of a PLA Lieutenant General, is the wife of Bo Xilai. Bo is the Party Chief of Chongqing, where Wang happened to be the deputy major and police chief. Wang's real identity is a most reliable henchman of Bo Xilai.

Later this year, the Communist Party of China will hold their 18th National Conference, while the once a decade power transfer will take place. Bo's son's oversea journey had been attracting uninvited attention and attacks from his political rivals.

A Daily Mail article might have shed some light on the mystery surrounding Wood's death. While Bo Xilai Built his political career as an anti-corruption iron-man. He had a lot to explain on his family's luxury life style, including his wife's high-flying law firm. Words in the media had implied Bo with his salary wouldn't afford sending his son to exclusive schools oversea, such as the Harrow School. In an opening session of the National People's Congress held at the beginning of this month, Bo purposefully told reporters, that Bo Guagua had been funded by 'full scholarship' in every school he went to, which began with Papplewich preparatory and all the way through the Harrow School to Oxford University and the currently enrolled Harvard University. While media reported some of these schools do not offer 'full scholarship' at all, the Daily Mail confirmed a long circulated rumor that Guagua had been suspended by the Oxford on academic performance. In a sense, Guagua's school report cards suddenly became the softest spot in strong man Bo Xilai's political life. While reporters burning night oil to unearth Guagua's course grades, someone fell into the position of having known too much of a taboo. Perhaps, a dead body wouldn't talk.

British citizen Nick Heywood was found dead in Chongqing in October, 2011. The Chinese officials decided Heywood would die of alcoholic poisoning (drunk), however his friends pointed out he had never drank before. While many foreigners had their first glass on their trip to China, because of the culture of binge drinking, the incident would certainly draw attention from stake holders.

Wang Lijun was not an ordinary henchman. So far Wang carried out all Bo's instructions, including many dirty jobs. With Bo's help, Wang had elevated to the role of the top cop in Chinese popular culture while Wang was the combination of the Batman and Spiderman who punish the bad guys, often stepping outside the boundary of law. Nevertheless, Wang's heavy-hand approach was strongly criticized by concerned intellectuals.

Wang's national fame might did some magic. Perhaps Wang somehow believed he was indeed the combination of the Batman and the Spiderman, as the Hollywood dog Bolt did. Anyway, one day in February Wang went to Bo's office and brought up the case that he had been investigating. The rest was history.

As Chinese have been watching from a distance in amazement, Wang was promptly stripped off his police duty. Cops who had been involved in the investigation were arrested, some allegedly were tortured to death. Heywood's body was immediately cremated in disregard of Wang's protest. A few days later, Wang walked in the General Consulate of the United States in Chengdu, Sichuan, a neighboring Province of Chengdu. Wang became the ever first 'Minister-level official' to defect the communist party. After dizzy power struggles within and without the consulate, Wang left the complex 'voluntarily' and surrendered to representatives from Beijing, who flew in to break an armed blockage by forces loyal to Chongqing.

In the following days, the communist party has been in a race to figure out how to handle the case before more details being released by the US. The US congress is on schedule to conduct a hearing on the case to find out on what ground Wang's asylum application had been denied. It is said that the Ambassador Gary Locke recommended to grant the asylum, but the motion was rejected by the State Department. Another blogger Dormant Bear 2012reported that the British government already initiated an formal inquiry through diplomatic channel regarding Wood's death. Financial Times said Bo Guagua and his wife had already been detained by the US on unspecified charges.

Many of the leads were posted on Sina's micro-blogging service webo by a former reporter Yang Haipeng in Shanghai. Yang's wife, a star architect, was sentenced to four years in jail on sketchy legal ground a few month ago. On the sentencing day, tens of thousands of bloggers in China changed their online avatar to photos of Yang's wife as a gesture to show support. It's just another example of how the communist party have been busy burying land mines so that they can step on one later.

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