When Stephen Harper, the Prime Minister, flies to Chongqing Saturday to wrap up a five-day tour of China, he may be walking into the middle of one of the biggest power struggles in recent Chinese history.
His host, Bo Xilai, party secretary in the southwestern megacity, is a prominent “princeling” who has been tipped to join China’s powerful Politburo Standing Committee during a generational change of leadership in October.
Only, his political fortunes may have mysteriously taken a beating. His protegé, Wang Lijun, the Vice-Mayor and a high-profile anti-corruption campaigner, suddenly disappeared from public view amid rumours he tried to defect to the U.S. consulate in nearby Chengdu Monday.
On Tuesday, when Mr. Harper arrived in Beijing, Mr. Wang was said to have been escorted back to the Chinese capital by a vice-minister responsible for anti-espionage and covert operations.
Chinese Internet sites have been a-buzz, while government censors have…
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