Without a name card, I’m have difficulty distinguishing Bo and Blago. Both are given to rhetorical flourishes — Bo quotes Mao Zedong poetry and Blago quotes Kipling. Both have channeled money out of their country of service. And both have both given highly public press conferences in which they continued to express their righteousness in the face of national misunderstanding.
Indeed, yesterday when I opened my yahoo account I discovered that Bo Xilai was suddenly all over the U.S. of A. (here, here, and here, for example), even in Utah! Meanwhile, literally just up the street, former Illinois governor, Rod Blagojevich headed off to prison on corruption convictions, not with a whimper but a full-on press entourage.
Here’s the rub: Bo and Blago are talking the same talk, albeit one filtered through Indo-Eropean grammar and the other through Sino-Tibetan tones — but don’t let it fool you.
When asked about the Wang Lijun affair during his March 9th Chongqing press conference, for example, Bo Xilai admitted, there may have been a “personnel oversight (用人视察)”! This language not only distanced him from Wang Lijun’s actions, but was the rhetorical equivalent of kicking a dog out of the house for crapping on the carpet. Not my fault, but not really a problem. Less than a week later, Blago picked up where Bo had left off, emoting “Saying goodbye is the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. I’m leaving with a heavy heart, a clear conscience and high, high hopes for the future.”
So in the spirit of he said, he said, a few quotes to test how well you can distinguish between the rhetoric of being
corrupt unapologetically superior in Chongqing and Chicago:
Criteria for choosing a successor — our legal situation, our personal situation, my political situation. Answer.
I want to make money. Answer.
Unity is strength, this strength is steel, this strength is iron… Answer.
I’ve got this thing and it’s fucking golding. I’m not giving up for fucking nothing. I’m not gonna do it. And I can always use it. I can parachute me there. Answer.
We’ve always gotten along together, and today as I say goodbye to everyone it’s hard for my heart to be at peace. Answer.
In our fight against the mafia, we have nothing to be ashamed of. Answer.
And there you have it. More proof that the US and China really are the same country. Except when they’re not. Sigh.