Latest Issue

The new face of China?

In March 2012 China's most flamboyant politician was fired. Now his wife has been charged with murder. Meet Bo Xilai before the scandal.

By Dan Levin   December 2011

Bo Xilai is mobbed by the media in Beijing, 2010. His personal brand combines Clint Eastwood’s style of justice with George Clooney’s swagger

The email, from a former high-ranking European diplomat to China, was curt: “We won’t be able to talk by phone,” he wrote.

In other words, because I was in Beijing, he feared that our conversation would be monitored, placing him at risk. Assurances that I would use a secure line were for naught. I never heard from him again.

That’s how things go when you research—or attempt to research—a Chinese leader. In a country where even the…

Register today to continue reading

You’ve hit your limit of three articles in the last 30 days. To get seven more, simply enter your email address below.

You’ll also receive our free e-book Prospect’s Top Thinkers 2020 and our newsletter with the best new writing on politics, economics, literature and the arts.

Prospect may process your personal information for our legitimate business purposes, to provide you with newsletters, subscription offers and other relevant information.

Click here to learn more about these purposes and how we use your data. You will be able to opt-out of further contact on the next page and in all our communications.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to

More From Prospect