The king falls

Instead of travelling immediately to Beijing to explain the situation and his decision to send his own private army to retrieve Wang from the US consulate, Bo Xilai did something that alarmed other senior leaders in the Party.

He flew to the southwestern city of Kunming, 650km away from Chongqing, and visited a military complex that is home to the 14th Group Army, the successor to the unit commanded by his father during the Communist revolution. As he toured the base where a waxwork model of Bo Yibo is on prominent display, state media explained that Bo Xilai was there to “cherish the memory of revolutionary ancestors”.

The highly symbolic visit conveyed a powerful message by highlighting his deep ties to the military as well as ...

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