Nobody loves a grand spectacle more than the Chinese, and this week the press went wild in anticipation of the blockbuster of the summer – the showtrial of Bo Xilai. Bo, the tough talking, impeccably dressed political scion and heartthrob of Chongqing, has been presumably languishing in a jail cell somewhere for more than a year preparing for his big role.
Who said only Hollywood loved a failed star? The whole shebang will purportedly be broadcast live on the recently announced Alibaba smart TV system, with breaks in the trial to be filled with incendiary comments from none other than company chairman Jack Ma himself. When Bo finally takes to the stage at the Jinan Legislative Community Theatre sometime in mid-August, he’ll be convicted together with executives from multinational drugs companies and corrupt doctors in a single trial as officials cut entertainment budgets to promote a more frugal image.
We could normally care less about some pharma fat cats, except for the fact that some at CER have been frantically Baidu-ing short breaks in cooler climes to escape the oppressive Shanghai heat. However, most of the tour packages offered by local travel agencies have been bulk-booked by consultants from large pharmaceutical firms. Normally we’d turn to an “Old China Hand” and former CER columnist like Peter Humphrey to help us find the best deal, but he’s suddenly gone missing and isn’t answering calls.