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China censors Bo Xilai debate, but Chinese work around it

In a sign of how sensitive the issue is for the ruling Communist Party, censors blocked online searches for the name of Bo Xilai, the former Chongqing party boss who fell from grace this year amid scandal.

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In this March 13 file photo, Chongqing party secretary Bo Xilai attends the closing session of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference in Beijing's Great Hall of the People, China.

Ng Han Guan/AP/File

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Chinese on Wednesday streamed onto the Internet in forbidden debate over China's biggest political upheaval since the 1980s after a top official was flung from the inner circle of power and his wife detained over the murder of a British businessman.

In a sign of how intensely sensitive the issue is for the ruling Communist Party, censors continued to block online searches for the name of Bo Xilai, the former Chongqing party boss cast out of the party's Central Committee, according to state media reports late on Tuesday.

Even the most inane references were blocked on the wildly popular Twitter-like Weibo microblogging site - including "Chongqing," the southwestern metropolis Boran and where he built up his credentials as a leader who wanted fairer distribution of wealth and cracked down on crime.

But clever word play allowed many to skirt the restrictions, reimposed after being very briefly relaxed in mid-March when Bo was sacked as Chongqing party chief.

By Wednesday morning, there were more than 230,000 postings on "big news," and "Wude," a reference to the Chinese name of murdered Briton Neil Heywood, had racked up some 100,000 postings.

The official Xinhua news agency said late on Tuesday that Bo's lawyer wife Gu Kailai and their son had been on good terms with Heywood but that they had fallen out over "economic interests".

"Today's biggest news - people who don't lack money can murder someone because of money. Who's going to believe that?" wrote K_ankan.

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