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Petroleum and Purges

The Beijing rumor-mill is back on overdrive. With the trial of Bo Xilai only barely concluded and the country now openly speculating on the length of the disgraced politician’s likely sentence, factional battles targeting Bo’s remaining supporters have moved center-stage, as the government has launched an anti-graft probe into the country’s petroleum industry, a sector heavily connected to Zhou Yongkang, China’s feared former Security Chief who reputedly continued to back Bo Xilai against the wishes of the rest of the Politburo.

Liu Jin—AFP/Getty Images
Zhou Yongkang, a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the C.C.P., attends the opening session of the National People’s Congress at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, March 5, 2012.

Joining us to discuss these rumors are two outstanding observers of modern Chinese politics: Bill Bishop from Sinocism, and Jeremy Page from The Wall Street Journal. So join us as we discuss what seems to be happening behind the scenes, what this suggests for Bo Xilai’s sentence and the future of the politburo, and what the implications of this probe suggest for everything from internal party politics to China’s ongoing air pollution problems.