Subscribe free to our newsletters via your
. 24/7 Space News .

China's enigmatic 'princeling' Xi takes top spot
by Staff Writers
Beijing (AFP) Nov 6, 2012

Briton killed by Bo Xilai's wife was informant: report
Beijing (AFP) Nov 6, 2012 - A British businessman murdered by the wife of top Chinese politician Bo Xilai had informed on the couple for over a year to his country's spy agency, the Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday.

Neil Heywood shared details derived from his unusually close access to the powerful couple, the paper said, citing his friends and current and former British officials.

The revelation that Heywood was murdered brought down Bo and revealed rifts among top leaders as they negotiated a once-a-decade power handover set to take place this month.

"He had been knowingly providing information about the Bo family to Britain's Secret Intelligence Service, known as MI6, for more than a year," the report said.

It said Heywood became close to the family in the 1990s when Bo was mayor of the northeastern city of Dalian. He was found dead in November last year in the southwestern city of Chongqing, which Bo ran at the time.

Heywood drove a silver Jaguar with the licence plate "007", although people who knew him said he kept a low profile among fellow expatriates, the Journal said.

He operated a consultancy that relied on his connections to advise businesses how to manage Chinese bureaucracy.

After meeting someone in 2009 who later acknowledged being an MI6 officer, Heywood "met that person regularly in China" and provided "information on Mr Bo's private affairs", the paper said.

Bo's wife was given a suspended death sentence in August for poisoning Heywood. Bo was removed from the ruling Communist Party's top 25-member Politburo and now awaits trial for abuse of power and other charges.

Heywood's links with the family frayed in the last two years of his life. He had not seen Bo for a year when he apparently sought to obtain money which he thought the family owed him as he prepared to leave China, the report said.

The businessman seemed to have grown stressed, having gained weight and begun smoking more, and was increasingly worried that his email and phone calls were being monitored.

When he flew to Chongqing to meet the Bo family, he feared he was in trouble, a friend who spoke to him that day told the Journal.

However, neither Chinese nor British officials pointed to Heywood's spy links as a reason for his murder, it said.

His death was initially attributed to alcohol consumption. Bo's police chief and four subordinates were jailed in September for attempting to cover up the role of Bo's wife.

A Chinese foreign ministry spokesman declined to comment on the report.

In London, a spokesman for British Prime Minister David Cameron told reporters: "We never discuss intelligence matters."

China's next leader Xi Jinping is a Communist aristocrat with a pop star wife, but his beliefs on the issues that will shape the country's next decade remain hidden behind an enigmatic demeanour.

Barring an unprecedented upset, Xi is to assume China's paramount political post as general secretary of the all-powerful Party at its five-yearly congress beginning this week.

He replaces outgoing leader Hu Jintao and the promotion ensures he will also take over the national presidency early next year.

Xi, 59, inherits the mantle with his party's key claim to ruling legitimacy -- economic growth -- threatened by a rare slowdown, and its unity shaken by an embarrassing scandal involving one of his former Politburo colleagues.

But owing to the party's intensely secretive nature and the factional divides he must negotiate, observers have found it hard to pin down Xi's beliefs and allegiances -- or how he will address the challenges.

Xi has an impeccable political pedigree as the son of a respected figure in the revolution that brought the Communists to power in 1949, and previously headed some of China's most economically dynamic and reform-minded areas.

Married to a famous Chinese singer, Xi -- a portly figure typically seen on state television with a deadpan expression -- has shown a bit more colour than his predecessor Hu, a Communist bureaucrat with a wooden image.

Xi created a stir during a 2009 speech in Mexico by scoffing at "foreigners with full bellies and nothing to do but criticise our affairs", an apparent reference to the West.

But he has longstanding links with the US, going on an agricultural research trip to the country in 1985 and staying with a family in Muscatine, Iowa, deep in the farming heartland of the Midwest.

Almost three decades later he paid his hosts a return visit while on a much-publicised official trip to the US in February, where he indulged in his purported love of basketball at an NBA game in Washington.

His wife Peng Liyuan is a showbusiness personality who holds the rank of army general and starred for 25 years in a televised Lunar New Year gala watched by hundreds of millions of people.

Xi has tasted both the hard life of the impoverished countryside and the energy of China's economic miracle.

His father Xi Zhongxun fought alongside Mao Zedong and served as vice-premier until he fell in one of Mao's political purges, then was rehabilitated under pragmatic former top leader Deng Xiaoping.

Xi grew up among the privileged elite but, like many young educated Chinese during Mao's 1966-76 "Cultural Revolution", was "sent down" to the countryside to live and work humbly alongside peasants.

While labouring in the poor northern province of Shaanxi, he joined the Communist party and moved to Beijing in 1975 to study at the prestigious Tsinghua University -- also Hu's alma mater.

From there Xi rose up the party ranks mainly on China's fast-growing eastern seaboard, where he earned a reputation as an effective manager and supporter of economic reforms.

He oversaw the key manufacturing provinces of Fujian and Zhejiang before briefly taking the top post in the commercial hub of Shanghai in 2007. Later that year he secured a spot on the party's nine-member Politburo Standing Committee, China's top decision-making body.

When he was named vice-president in 2008 it put him in pole position for the top job.

But there are few clues on what sort of leader he will be in the now-standard 10-year term, and no hint at all that he will be able to impose his will in the consensus-driven upper echelons of the Communist Party even if he wanted to.

The Party tightly restricts any information on top leaders that would reveal them as individuals, a lesson learned from the personality cult developed around Communist founder Mao Zedong -- often to disastrous effect.

There has been speculation that Xi could have a reformist bent, but analysts say he has risen up mainly because his pedigree made him a compromise, status quo choice acceptable to Hu, former president Jiang Zemin and other powerbrokers.

Xi has avoided revealing any leanings that might threaten his status as a consensus candidate, backing non-controversial policies and positions during his rise up the party ranks, said China political analyst Willy Lam.

"He's a team player. He played by the rules of the party. He's not a risk-taker. He doesn't want to take risks that might jeopardise his career," he said.

His extended family have business interests worth hundreds of millions of dollars, according to an investigation by the Bloomberg news agency earlier this year, which said there was no indication of wrongdoing on his or their part.

American diplomatic cables published by WikiLeaks described Xi as pragmatic yet ambitious, willing to tilt with the political winds to advance.

They said he was uncorrupted by money yet with a sense of political entitlement, feeling that fellow "princelings" like him -- the privileged offspring of exalted Communist revolutionaries -- "deserve to rule China".


Related Links
Learn about the Superpowers of the 21st Century at
Learn about nuclear weapons doctrine and defense at

Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News

'Communism camp' for China's future leaders
Jinggangshan, China (AFP) Nov 3, 2012
In the remote Jinggang mountains, China's future communist elite are being trained in Mao Zedong's former guerrilla base, an effort to buttress the revolutionary roots of a regime striving to maintain its legitimacy. The Communist Party's embrace of state-directed capitalism has utterly transformed China since Mao died in 1976. But heading into a once-a-decade power shift next week, it still ... read more

Moon crater yields impact clues

Study: Moon basin formed by giant impact

NASA's LADEE Spacecraft Gets Final Science Instrument Installed

Astrium presents results of its study into automatic landing near the Moon's south pole

Curiosity Team Switches Back to Earth Time

Survey of 'Matijevic Hill' Continues

Mars Longevity Champ Switching Computers

NASA Rover Finds Clues to Changes in Mars' Atmosphere

Voyager observes magnetic field fluctuations in heliosheath

New NASA Online Science Resource Available for Educators and Students

'First' Pakistan astronaut wants to make peace in space

Space daredevil Baumgartner is 'officially retired'

Tiangong 1 Parked And Waiting As Shenzhou 10 Mission Prep Continues

China to launch 11 meteorological satellites by 2020

China makes progress in spaceflight research

Patience for Tiangong

Crew Prepares for Spacewalk After Progress Docks

Crew Preparing for Cargo Ship, Spacewalk

Russian cargo ship docks with ISS: official

Packed Week Ahead for Six-Member Crew

Russian Proton Briz-M Launches Yamal Satellites Into Orbit

SpaceX Transitions to Third Commercial Crew Phase with NASA

Globalstar Birds To Launch On Soyuz Next February

Ariane 5s are readied in parallel for Arianespace's next heavy-lift flights

Physicists confirm first planet discovered in a quadruple star system

Planet-hunt data released to public

New Study Brings a Doubted Exoplanet 'Back from the Dead'

New small satellite will study super-Earths for ESA

Sensors for the real world

Soluble circuit boards to reduce e-waste

Megaupload boss aims to lie low

How Butterfly Wings Can Inspire New High-Tech Surfaces

The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2014 - Space Media Network. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement