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A Death in the Lucky Holiday Hotel: Murder, Money, and an Epic Power Struggle in Chinaby Pin Ho
Synopses & Reviews
The downfall of Bo Xilai in China was more than a darkly thrilling mystery. It revealed a cataclysmic internal power struggle between Communist Party factions, one that reached all the way to Chinas new president Xi Jinping.
The scandalous story of the corruption of the Bo Xilai family—the murder of British businessman Neil Heywood; Bos secret lovers; the secret maneuverings of Bos supporters; the hasty trial and sentencing of Gu Kailai, Bos wife—was just the first rumble of a seismic power struggle that continues to rock the very foundation of Chinas all-powerful Communist Party. By the time it is over, the machinations in Beijing and throughout the country that began with Bos fall could affect Chinas economic development and disrupt the worlds political and economic order.
Pin Ho and Wenguang Huang have pieced together the details of this fascinating political drama from firsthand reporting and an unrivaled array of sources, some very high in the Chinese government. This was the first scandal in China to play out in the international media—details were leaked, sometimes invented, to non-Chinese news outlets as part of the power plays that rippled through the government. The attempt to manipulate the Western media, especially, was a fundamental dimension to the story, and one that affected some of the early reporting. A Death in the Lucky Holiday Hotel returns to the scene of the crime and shows not only what happened in Room 1605 but how the threat of the story was every bit as important in the life and death struggle for power that followed. It touched celebrities and billionaires and redrew the cast of the new leadership of the Communist Party. The ghost of Neil Heywood haunts China to this day.
"When British businessman Neil Heywood was found dead in a tourist hotel outside Chongqing, few would have suspected that his death would result in a murder trial that would nearly disrupt the country's once-in-a-decade leadership change. This deeply knowledgeable account of the rise and fall of regional Communist Party boss Bo Xilai (whose wife, Gu Kailai, was convicted of Heywood's murder) by veteran journalists Ho (China's Princelings) and Huang (The Little Red Guard) reveals the weaknesses of top party leadership, which they argue, is controlled by 'a privileged, corrupt, and law-defying group.' The authors unravel the myriad threads of politburo-level power struggles — which make the Borgias look like rank amateurs — weaving together a narrative that includes obscene wealth and corruption, orgies, and totaled Ferraris on the streets of Beijing. This expert account is bolstered by the authors' willingness to admit that the story is so complex that 'unless Heywood's spirit can find a medium, the whole truth about the November 15 murder may never be known.' As China's new president Xi Jinping leads the country into a new decade, the book shows that the country's high-level politics are murky, sometimes deadly, and that reform is less important to its leaders than not 'jeopardiz the party's image of unity.' Agent: Peter Bernstein, Bernstein Literary Agency." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
The scandalous story of the corruption of the Bo Xilai family—the murder of British businessman Neil Heywood; Bos secret lovers, who may have included Chinese film stars; the blackmailing by Bos supporters; the hasty trial and sentencing of Gu Kailai, Bos wife—is only the tip of an iceberg and just the beginning of a cataclysmic power struggle that could rock the very foundation of Chinas all-powerful Communist Party. By the time it is over, the machinations in Beijing and throughout the country that began with Bos fall could affect Chinas economic development and disrupt the worlds political and economic order.
This is the first book for non-Chinese readers on the scandals full significance, and comes right at the moment of a transformational powershift in the country. A Death in the Lucky Holiday Hotel offers original analysis of the broader implications of the Bo Xilai story based on unique access to high-level sources and inside information—by two authors who are the preeminent
authorities on the issue.
About the Author
Pin Ho is a Chinese journalist and writer. His book, Chinas Princelings, was the first to coin that phrase to describe the generation of children of Chinese revolutionaries who now hold many key political and business posts in the country, and is the source for much that has appeared in the accounts of various Western journalists. Wenguang Huang is a writer, journalist, and translator whose articles and translations have been published in The Wall Street Journal Asia, The Chicago Tribune, The Paris Review, The Asia Literary Review and The Christian Science Monitor. He is most recently the author of the memoir The Little Red Guard.
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History and Social Science » Asia » China » Peoples Republic 1949 to Present