Crossing a Red Line

ImagineChina / Corbris

Marked man Bo at a meeting of Chinese leaders in Beijing on March 13, just two days before he was sacked as Chongqing party chief

It was 1998, and Chinese journalist Jiang Weiping had made an astonishing discovery. Jiang was covering the rise of China's most charismatic politician, Bo Xilai, and his alluring lawyer wife Gu Kailai for a state-run newspaper in the port city of Dalian, where Bo was mayor. Both Bo and Gu were "princelings," the favored offspring of famous Communist Party revolutionaries. But even as he fed a propaganda machine that hailed China's power couple, Jiang was uncovering evidence of what he says were massive abuses of power by the pair. Among his findings: a company linked to Gu, which, according...

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