With the Eurozone problems and the elections in France occupying most investors, many tend to “forget” about the ultimate white knight of the World economy, China. Is the “Bo” situation about to have much larger implications for the Chinese economy than we anticipate? The planned smooth transition to the new generation has just hit some bumps. From Businessweek.
Qi hu nan xia, goes a Chinese proverb: When one rides a tiger, it is difficult to dismount. For the leaders of China’s 1.3 billion people, the import is clear. Stay on the tiger’s back, issue commands, and hope like hell the beast doesn’t turn on you. Over the last quarter-century that approach has served the mandarins of the Communist Party well. China became an economic marvel and staked a claim as the world’s next superpower. Civil liberties, social development, environmental husbandry, and political transparency were subordinate to the imperatives of growth. Increasing complaints about the avarice and gangsterism of government officials could be dismissed as local problems as long as an enlightened elite was thought to be guiding the state with a steady hand. Even when under pressure to reform, China’s leaders could reassure themselves that their grip on power remained secure.
Our story begins on November 14, 2011 in a nondescript hotel room in the hills above the Chinese city of Chongqing – roughly 850 miles north-west of Hong Kong – where a British businessman, 41 year-old Neil Heywood, was found dead.
After an extremely basic autopsy, the initial cause of death was listed as ‘excessive alcohol consumption’ and a rather hasty cremation took place in China with Heywood’s family being in- formed of his demise by telephone.
The story barely made the news either in China or back home in the UK.
Heywood wouldn’t have been the first British businessman abroad to overindulge in the bars and nightclubs of a foreign land and, if one were predisposed to finding a suitable ‘accident’ to befall an enemy who fit that mold, then drink- ing himself to death would have ordinarily been a fairly plausible cover story – but in this case, there was something that didn’t quite fit the of- ficial story – Heywood was teetotal.