Beijing, Mar.22 (ANI): A crack down has been launched on social media services in China that have allowed searches and wide discussion of controversial politician Bo Xilai since his ouster last week.
According to the Wall Street Journal, Bo's downfall appears to have put much of the country on an edge and given rise to fevered rumors of political infighting.
On Monday night, Internet users were startled by reports-entirely unsubstantiated-on China's wildly popular Twitter-like microblogging sites of gunfire in downtown Beijing. Nerves were further jangled by accounts of a heavier-than-usual police presence along Chang'an Avenue, one of the capital's main thoroughfares.
There have been reports of a fevered chatter of a political struggle inside the towering walls of the Zhongnanhai leadership compound in downtown Beijing.
One theory that is being widely explored is that of a battle brewing between Zhou Yongkang-the country's domestic security chief, who is believed to be a strong supporter of Bo, and President Hu Jintao, Premier Wen Jiabao and other leaders who analysts say supported Bo's ouster.
Zhou is a member of the party's all-powerful Politburo Standing Committee, and one of the country's nine most powerful political leaders.
The Communist Party's grip on power depends in large part on maintaining a facade of unity, so the online rumor mill is clearly unsettling China's propaganda officials and their armies of Internet censors.
That is particularly true in the run-up to a once-a-decade leadership change scheduled to take place later this year.
Rumors of a power struggle also appeared to unsettle markets.
Bo was dumped last week after a scandal involving his former police chief, Wang Lijun, who apparently sought asylum in the U.S. Consulate in nearby Chengdu.
He was a populist politician who grabbed national headlines with a high-profile crackdown on organized crime and attempts to revive the singing of Mao-era revolutionary songs. (ANI)
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