Bo ran wire-tapping system to spy on top officials


Fallen Chinese leader Bo Xilai ran an eavesdropping operation on an extensive wire-tapping system to spy on top officials including President Hu Jintao, which contributed to his downfall, according to a report in the New York Times Thursday.


According to the NYT, the wiretapping system and bugging devices were detected in August last year when Hu wanted to talk to Minister of Supervision Ma Wen, a senior anti-corruption official, visiting Chongqing, the southwestern metropolis where Bo was the Communist Party chief and the most charismatic leader.

The newspaper cited "nearly a dozen people with party ties" who spoke anonymously "for fear of retribution" to confirm the wire-tapping, as well as a widespread programme of bugging across Chongqing.

The authorities in China have until now never mentioned wire-tapping in reports about Bo, whose wife Gu Kailai, is being investigated over the death of a British national in November 2011.

Until now, the downfall of Bo has been largely attributed to the accusations that his wife had arranged the murder of British consultant Neil Heywood following a business dispute.

"But the hidden wire-tapping appears to have provided another compelling reason for party leaders to turn on Bo," said the NYT.

"The story of how China's president was monitored also shows the level of mistrust among leaders in the one-party state," the NYT report said.

Bo, a high flier and one of the most influential leaders who hoped to reach the top echelons of office, has not been seen in public since he was removed from his political posts.

Bo's eavesdropping operations began "several years ago as part of a state-financed surveillance buildup", to fight crime and maintain local political stability, said the newspaper citing party members, including editors, academics and people with ties to the military.

The wire-tapping operation was handled by Wang Lijun, the police chief, who was stripped of his job following Heywood's death, which signalled the start of Bo's downfall.

Bo fall from grace comes ahead of China embarking on leadership change in October something that happens only once-in-a-decade.

Source: The Asia News.Net