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Bo Xilai: a stunning and highly public fall from grace in China (+video)

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Whether he went to the consulate seeking asylum or for another purpose has not been disclosed. But rather than blacking out all news of the scandal, local and national officials fed it, announcing first that Mr. Wang was undergoing “vacation style medical treatment” and then revealing that Wang had spent a whole night at the consulate and was under investigation.

President Hu Jintao was widely reported last week as describing Wang as a “traitor,” which bode ill for his mentor, and on Wednesday, Prime Minister Wen Jiabao banged the last nail into Bo’s coffin with some blunt criticism of his political rival at a press conference – an extremely unusual public assault on a fellow leader.

To the eyes of some observers the revelations on Weibo, China’s most popular social media platform, bore the hallmarks of an anti-Bo campaign by his rivals. “Political factions can use Weibo to create and manipulate public opinion,” points out Wu Qiang, who teaches politics at Tsinghua University in Beijing. “Any user can be a deep throat.”

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