Posts Tagged ‘foriegn policy’

April 2012

What the Chinese can tell Russia about murder

Foreign Policy

If China can detain the wife of a top politician on suspicion of murdering a British businessman, can there be hope that Russia will adjudicate the jailhouse death of Sergei Magnitsky? What about the elevator execution of journalist Anna Politkovskaya? Or the nuclear-isotope poisoning of former KGB officer Alexander Litvinenko?

Beijing has detained Gu Kailai, the wife of now-disgraced Communist Party official Bo Xilai, on suspicion of murdering Neil Heywood, a long-time British business associate whose body was found in a Chongqing hotel Nov. 15. At first, Chinese authorities blamed alcohol poisoning, but yesterday they said he was murdered.

The hard facts are clear, most experts agree — this is a real murder, and authorities suspect that Gu and a servant played a role in it. But the rest is politics, said Chris Johnson, a former senior analyst on China for the CIA, and now a fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. Johnson told me that Bo crossed an invisible line: He had seemed destined to be elevated to the all-powerful standing committee of the Communist Party Politburo. But he had created powerful enemies along the way, and ultimately self-destructed when a senior aide fled into a U.S. Consulate on Feb. 6, and divulged details of Bo’s corrupt dealings, and the Heywood murder. Breaking the law and common decency are one thing when you are a senior Chinese official, but it appears that having it aired very publicly is quite another.

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