May 3rd, 2012
12:15 PM ET

Zakaria: Bo Xilai and the return of politics

By Fareed Zakaria

The storm over the blind activist Chen Guangcheng has understandably captured the world's attention in the past week. But an event of much greater significance remains the ouster of Bo Xilai, the powerful party boss of Chongqing. The rise and fall of Bo is part of a much larger and potentially disruptive trend in China–the return of politics to the Chinese Communist Party.

We don't much think of the party as a political organization these days. It is dominated by technocrats obsessed with economic and engineering challenges. These men–and they are almost all men–are comfortable talking about detailed economic and technical data, but they are not skilled politicians, adept at handling large crowds or palace intrigue. This apolitical system is a recent phenomenon and the outcome of a conscious decision by the founder of modern China, Deng Xiaoping.

Read my full column over at TIME.

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Topics: China • From Fareed • Politics • Time Magazine

soundoff (13 Responses)
  1. j. von hettlingen

    Mao Zedong's leadership oversaw the brutal implementation of a Communist vision of society. Millions died in the Great Leap Forward – a program of state control over agriculture and industrialisation – and the Cultural Revolution, a chaotic attempt to root out elements seen as hostile to Communist rule. Wen Jiabao spoke of this hazard when he in his last public speech two months ago discredited Bo Xilai. Indeed, economic growth hasn't been matched by political reform. The Chinese Communist Party – the world's biggest political party – retains its monopoly on power and maintains strict control over the people. The authorities still crack down on any signs of opposition and send outspoken dissidents to labour camps or psychiatric wards. Whoever takes over the Politburo, they can't turn a blind eye to social injustice and discontent.

    May 3, 2012 at 6:02 pm | Reply
    • Maersk

      Just how do you know that millions died in the Great Leap Forward, were you kwok zucking in China at the time when it happened? Were you counting the number of Chinese kwoks that you had zucked or were you actually counting the dead Chinese?

      May 3, 2012 at 7:20 pm | Reply
      • j. von hettlingen

        Thank you for your enlightenment! Maybe you should teach me how to sing the "March of the volunteers" as well!

        May 4, 2012 at 4:53 am |
    • don'twasteourtime

      according to your story, Mao was cruel and so is Bo, whom Wen critisizes but he represents the current dictatorial regime. i think you're describing yourself in the mirror: Bush was a thug and so is Obama, whom Romney critisizes but he himself represents the thuggish GOP. see all makes sense now?

      May 15, 2012 at 11:38 pm | Reply
  2. keyser

    I don't see how any of this is our business. If the Chinese stuck their heads into our internal affairs we would be screaming bloody murder. The human rights excuse is just that. An excuse to poke our nose into somebody else's business.

    May 13, 2012 at 10:48 am | Reply
  3. Pam Allen

    Fareend, Your program and today's offerings were a breath of fresh air. The fact that Mr. Zoellick and Mr. Fink answered questions posed to them and did so honestly(without party line garbage) is in such short supply. Listening to the majority of our useless politicians isn't worth our time nor consideration. This Congress will do nothing for the good of our country nor its citizens until their selfish presence is limited. We all have such a vested interest in wiping the slates clean on a regular basis. America – please wake up, care about one another and encourage change! We're the answer.

    May 13, 2012 at 2:09 pm | Reply
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    Acts of kindness happen everywhere by foreigners if the foreigner is properly schooled in humanity.

    May 15, 2012 at 9:02 pm | Reply
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