May 4th, 2012
01:29 PM ET

Bo scandal shows politics re-emerging in China's Communist Party

By Fareed Zakaria

The rise and fall of Bo Xilai is part of a much larger and potentially disruptive trend in China — the return of politics to the Chinese Communist Party.

We don't think of the Chinese Communist 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, laying out master plans for development. But they are not politicians, adept at handling large crowds or palace intrigue.

Read more about China and the big questions it faces in the near future at

soundoff (202 Responses)
  1. Rajeev Kumar

    I completely agree with Mr. Zakaria on this article. However, China has already built world-class corporations such as Haier and Huawei. It has had massive injections of technology into its economy and military-industrial complex, mostly through espionage, reverse engineering, and forced technology transfers from foreign multinationals. It has built world class universities. And it has invested enormous sums of money into its infrastructure, making its transport network the envy of the world and enabling it to gain enormous technical prowess. These will not go away overnight. The US is still reaping the rewards of the Tennessee Valley Authority, Hoover Dam, and other massive public investments made during the Great Depression, as well as those made even before (such as the railroads).

    Of course many of China's investments have gone into environmentally and socially destructive white elephants such as the Three Gorges Dam, but a whole generation of expert civil, hydrological, electrical, and geophysical engineers has arisen out of it. China will likely survive as a rapidly emerging power for at least a generation, and by then a new meritocracy may emerge. The only disadvantage is that China does not have a great entrepreneurial spirit or independent justice system that can allow the private sector to flourish without state intervention as it has in the United States and India.

    May 17, 2012 at 2:33 pm | Reply
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