The Dominoes Are Falling: Key Events That Could Lead to the CCP's Dissolution
Beginning in February 2012, it became clear that top leaders in the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) are locked in a power struggle—a power struggle so intense that as it plays out in public, China watchers are able to analyze it with some accuracy.
The following is a timeline of events—with the most recent on top—that our analysts predict are part of a domino effect that will eventually lead to the dissolution of the CCP.
• Apr 10: Former Chongqing Communist Party Secretary Bo Xilai is officially suspended from his duties in the Politburo and Central Committee of the CCP. Meanwhile, his wife Gu Kailai is named a murder suspect for the 2011 death of British citizen Neil Heywood.
• Mar 30–Apr 3: Chinese officials shut down comments on popular microblogging sites for four days—effectively disabling a key forums for netizens' discussion. The shutdown may have been related to power struggles in the CCP or to recent rumors of a coup.
• Mar 23: An unusual drop in Internet censorship appears to reflect a factional struggle within the CCP. Terms like "Falun Gong" and "Live [Organ] Harvest" are unblocked temporarily on search engine Baidu, putting pressure on Jiang Zemin's faction (which includes Wang Lijun, Bo Xilai, and Zhou Yongkang).
• Mar 21: The Financial Times reports that Politburo Standing Committee member and PLAC head Zhou Yongkang "had been ordered not to make any public appearances," suggesting that his political power may be waning.
• Mar 15: Bo Xilai is removed from his position as Chongqing Communist Party Secretary. He remains in the Politburo, but without any other official position.
• Mar 3: Chinese leader Hu Jintao officially labels Wang Lijun a "traitor," giving Hu more flexibility on how to deal with other CCP members with close ties to Wang.
• Feb 14–17: Xi Jinping, who is likely to be appointed China's next leader, visits the United States. This complicates the US's ability to handle the Wang Lijun incident.
• Feb 11: It becomes clear that Bo Xilai will soon fall from power, when state-run media do not show any photos of Bo during Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper's visit to Chongqing.
• Feb 8: Wang Lijun leaves the US consulate and is "escorted" to Beijing by high-ranking officials with ties to Hu Jintao's faction (the opposing faction). Wang is not heard from since.
• Feb 6: Recently ousted Chongqing police chief Wang Lijun visits the US consulate in Chengdu, China—allegedly to ask for asylum.