Mystery, intrigue, murder, betrayal -- all these are key components that flavor a political drama and make it so intensely irresistible, and no book portrays them better than "A Death in the Lucky Holiday Hotel". A whirlwind of plotting and corruption, the stunningly clear publication of China's dark and complex politics is a riveting masterpiece.
In today's world, China is an emerging world power, with a booming economy on the fast train to the top. Its leaders and government, naturally, are front and center in the lives of the media industry. With the 18th Party Congress drawing near at the time of the event, any and all imperfections and signs of disunity within the nation were expected to be covered up and hidden away. China was to present a united front, just like the images frequently seen on television--a uniform group of men all wearing dark suits and white shirts with jet-black hair. When the bombshell about the Bo Xilai scandal dropped just a few months before the publicized, yet still extremely secretive, transfer of power in China's government began, all eyes turned to the city of Chongqing and the shocking events that were taking place there.
Like zooming in on a mammoth spiderweb, the narrator slowly draws the reader in, beginning with the extra close-up view. With bits and pieces of leaked news and unverified information, the story gradually begins to unfold. A cryptic description of the hotel where the murder that changed numerous lives irrevocably took place is the reader's first insight into the whole debacle. The murder of Neil Heywood, an Englishman who would later prove to play a crucial role in the downfall of Bo Xilai and those connected to him, is briefly described, leaving the reader intrigued and desperately wanting to know more.
One of the biggest political scandals in China slowly unravels, displaying its twisted and dangerous inner workings to the public through foreign media and social networking. Through the main characters in this exciting political drama, the authors, Pin Ho and Wenguang Huang, artfully tell the tale of an aspiring and ambitious politician falls from power and how his subordinate, the chief of police in Chongqing, seeks asylum with the U.S. Consulate and ultimately causes this fall from power.
The central character of this scandal is the power-hungry politician Bo Xilai. Growing up as a princeling and the son of a Communist Party lieutenant, Bo Xilai is smart and charismatic, with attractive looks and plenty of ambition. Quickly moving up on the political ladder, he soon becomes the Communist Party chief of Chongqing, a megacity in southwestern China. Bo Xilai eventually becomes embroiled in corruption, affairs, and scrambles for power. With his crafty and seemingly villain-like wife backing him up, he manages to gain a seat in the Politburo Committee and become a likely candidate for election to the Politburo Standing Committee.
Another crucial performer in this shocking drama is, of course, Wang Lijun, Chongqing's chief of police who finally turns against his boss after realizing that he is dispensable and can be easily disposed of by Bo Xilai. Nicknamed the "Iron Blooded Police Spirit", Wang Lijun is fierce and unafraid, yet also cruel and merciless. With many staunch supporters in the public of Chongqing, he also has many powerful enemies. Eventually, his once protector and ally Bo Xilai joins the ranks of the people who look forward to his downfall. Fearing for his own position and addicted to the power of his role as head of police, Wang Lijun--just like a loyal dog who has been beaten one too many times--snaps and provides evidence of the murder of a foreigner by Bo Xilai's wife to the U.S. Consulate.
The strands of this web stretch out and entangle more people than could have been imagined. Many of the leading public figures of China are named, such as Zhou Yongkang, Xi Jinping, Hu Jintao, Ling Jihua, and more. What begins as a solitary death is gradually realized to be the pebble thrown into a calm lake, creating political ripples that grow ever larger and more shell-shocking. Every citizen of the world has been able to follow the exhilarating events from various Internet websites, print sources, or television reports, beginning from the discovery of Neil Heywood's corpse all the way till the prosecution of Bo Xilai, his wife Gu Kailai, and Wang Lijun. However, this book offers a truly in-depth and close-up look at the people involved and the intimate details of this political drama.
As the story unfolds and one gets deeper and deeper into the book, more and more questions pop up. What could possibly cause Gu Kailai to allegedly murder Neil Heywood? Why did relations between Bo Xilai, his wife, and Wang Lijun eventually sour? Who were the powerful connections behind Bo Xilai? And finally, what really happened that fateful night in room 1605 at the Lucky Holiday Hotel? Most of these questions are answered with objective and unbiased facts. Like wiping away steam from a mirror, the truth in the reflection increasingly becomes clear. Presenting only the cold, hard facts, authors Pin Ho and Wenguang Huang allow readers to decide for themselves what truly happened in the end.
The real world, especially the world of politics, is a messy and complex place. There is often no right or wrong, and things are often painted in varying shades of gray rather than black or white. The Bo Xilai scandal is a prime example of that. The public may never know who truly murdered Neil Heywood or the motives for all the events that occurred. No one can truly say for sure what will become of Bo Xilai, the once powerful man who was a rising political star before his ground-shaking fall to shame. This book provides the details of what occurred, letting readers come to their own conclusion on the past and the future.
Once again, this incident is just another thing that the Chinese government can use, and is using, as something the Communist Party stands against and aims to protect its people from. Bo Xilai, in the end, is just another pawn in the grand scheme of things.