TWILIGHT OF THE GODS

DENG XIAOPING'S RIVAL DIES, AND THE SUCCESSION BATTLE HEATS UP WITH A PUTATIVE DRIVE AGAINST CORRUPTION

THE PROTOCOL OF DEATH IN COMMUNIST regimes has traditionally been as elaborate as those of the empires that preceded them. So when Chen Yun died at 89 last Monday, the citizens of Beijing braced themselves for the usual run of lowered flags, martial music, and long paeans to his revolutionary contributions. After all, Chen ranked second only to Paramount Leader Deng Xiaoping in China's pantheon of post-Mao leaders, and the two were often viewed as fierce rivals.

But in China today these are unusual, discomforting times: Deng himself is rumored to be near death, and the struggle to succeed him is...

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