The most interesting stuff out there, ladies and gentlemen, is the saga of Guo Wengui, the billionaire with a bag of secrets who apparently is holed up in an apartment in Manhattan. He was one hour into an originally scheduled three-hour interview with VOA when it was suddenly ended for reasons not made clear, and Beijing issued an alert through Interpol for his arrest.
His secrets, or maybe baseless allegations, about corruption at the top of the China pyramid, who knows, are partially out and partially not. But in many ways, it is all a re-run of the fascinating case of Ling Jihua, who a couple of years ago sent his younger brother to the States with a similar bag of secrets, the purpose of which was, apparently, to provide protection in the cutthroat world of Beijing politics. It didn’t work, and Ling Jihua was arrested, or toppled, depending on your point of view. The younger brother, the unfortunate owner of the name Ling Wancheng, is presumably under CIA/FBI protection, the bag of secrets presumably got shared, and the Chinese have presumably been warned not to try anything. Presumably (excuse the repetition) ditto all round with Mr Guo.
We await with baited breath the next installment in his story, which inevitably impacts on the backroom horsetrading in the leadup to the 19th Congress in October. Not that we claim to understand any of this. We are chained in a position from which we can only see the shadows cast by the fire on the wall opposite us. But it feels like a big deal. For Beijing to demand (presumably), and for VOA to accept the termination of a program in midstream, is unprecedented.
The Ling family names, by the way, are a cute reflection of the modern history of this country. The Ling family, obviously loyal insiders, had three sons in the 1950s, and named them consecutively Ling Xiangmu (project), Ling Jihua (plan) and Ling Wancheng (finished). Who needs normalcy in the face of such richness? Enjoy the weather!