China's Tall Poppy Syndrome

Jonathan Fenby on the long history behind the rapid demise of one of the brightest lights in China’s political firmament.

Bo Xilai attends the closing session of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference in Beijing, March 13th, 2012. Getty Images/Lintao ZhangFor all the veneer so admired by visitors from Marco Polo to Henry Kissinger China has always been home to some pretty vicious court politics. So the dramatic political defenestration of Bo Xilai, the shooting star of the present regime, who was brought abruptly to earth this spring, losing his official post and being suspended from the ruling Communist Party, falls into a pattern that dates back to the in-fighting that followed the death of the First Emperor, Qin Shi Huangdi, in 210 BC.

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