September 19th, 2012



Zhou readily conceded his friend Wang had something of a "hero complex", constantly performing as if his life was a blockbuster film.

Wang, a fan of spy movies, made a show of being reluctant to eat food from unknown sources, because of a fear of being poisoned.

His police canteen became a personal refuge and a meeting place for Chongqing's political elite.

A few days after Gu Kailai, wife of the fallen Chongqing Party boss Bo Xilai, murdered Englishman Neil Heywood, she assembled police including Wang at his canteen and told him she was on a secret mission from the central Public Security Bureau to protect him.

She wore a general's uniform of the People's Liberation Army at the time, even though she held no military or official Communist Party rank, Reuters reported.

Weng Zhenjie, a central figure in Chongqing's state-dominated financial system, and also its shadowy underground banking network, lobbied incessantly to meet Wang.

Weng smoothed the relationship by donating 100 million yuan to a compensation fund for police who were "injured" in the anti-mafia crackdown, to be administered by Wang.

Eventually, Weng knew he had succeeded when Wang invited him to dine in his canteen, businessman Zhang Mingyu said.

Wang drank red wine in a profession where beer and a white spirit called baijiu are the norm.

He paid great attention to his attire and appearance, combining professorial glasses with a reputation for belting hooligans in the face and shooting guns into the air while standing on the bonnet of his jeep.

He commissioned books - and of course a film - about his crime-fighting exploits.

I am utterly fascinated by the current political intrigue going on in China. The above article--which is about the police chief who went to the US embassy--is a part of it, and the fact that he appears to have been an ego maniac with fine dining tastes merely adds another dimension to it, really.

A few weeks ago, N. (who is also fascinated) suggested we make a game out of this. We don't have a title yet--but I like Province for it--but we imagine that the board of the game is China, cut up into provinces, and the goal is to become the Party Leader. You do this by taking over other provinces, but to do this, you have to use different political intrigues, as gathered from a deck of cards before you. Within that deck are cards such as Police Chief in the US Embassy, Body Double Takes Your Place in Jail, Murdered British Businessman, Sexually Ambiguous Son, and so on and so forth, a collection of cards that you can force upon the other player, to take control of their provinces, and to ultimately weaken their power in your bid to become the Honourable Leader.

Brilliant, yes?