CHINA: GREAT PURGE IN THE FORBIDDEN CITY

It was a drama that had been played out countless times during the dynastic changes of bygone eras. First there were rumblings of earthquakes. Then came the death of the aged Emperor, followed by quarrels among his heirs about how to dispose of his body. Rival factions plotted within the towering walls of the Forbidden City—one of them led by the dead Emperor's shrewd Chief Minister, the other by his scheming, ambitious and hated widow. There were rumors of a forged will, secret meetings and, finally, a series of arrests in a great purge....