Schell: Beijing Had 'Knives Out' for 'Theatrical' Bo Xilai

Orville Schell, Arthur Ross Director of Asia Society's Center on U.S.-China Relations, appeared on PBS Newshour last night to talk about the scandal surrounding the dramatic fall of Chinese government official Bo Xilai and his wife Gu Kailai (more on that here). A complete transcript of the appearance, embedded above, is available on the PBS site. Here's a taste:

Well, [Bo Xilai] was a very sort of dramatic, really to-the-podium-born, very sort of, I think, a theatrical kind of a political figure.

And in this world where the people who are on the Standing Committee, nine of them, of the Politburo tend to be very muted, and they tend to get ahead by being quiet, keeping their heads down, and just quietly going about their work, here was Bo Xilai sort of becoming the big, popular leader of first Dalian. And then he was the minister of commerce, and then in Chongqing, where he launched this sort of proto-Maoist movement to sing cultural revolutionist songs, and started attacking gangs in Chongqing, and really coming out on the side of the ordinary person, the common person.

And this was all a bit too theatrical, I think, for people back in Beijing. So, they had their knives out for him.

About the Author

Profile picture for user Dan Washburn

Dan Washburn is Asia Society's Chief Content Officer. The Financial Times named his book, The Forbidden Game: Golf and the Chinese Dream, one of the best of 2014.