Murder in the Lucky Holiday Hotel
March 22, 2017 9:00 AM   Subscribe

Murder in the Lucky Holiday Hotel. ‘Five years ago, China’s most charismatic politician was toppled from power. His disgrace allowed his great rival to dominate the political stage in a way unseen in China since the days of Chairman Mao. All this was made possible by a murder. And the story of that murder begins not in China but in a British seaside town.’ A BBC News magazine article by Carrie Gracie (also available in podcast form). Previously: i, ii, iii.
posted by misteraitch (7 comments total) 18 users marked this as a favorite
What a depressing story. I worked in China a couple of times, and visited Dalian - I was probably there when all these people were. But you look at the whole situation and you think - what driven people with what talent, and they use it for greed and sordid intrigue. What's even the point of having all these nice things, going to Oxford, being able to travel everywhere etc when you've got terrible relationships? You could spend your whole life doing something pleasant and innocuous like teaching at Beida or something with those kinds of connections and that kind of drive, and live a perfectly nice life instead.
posted by Frowner at 10:13 AM on March 22, 2017 [6 favorites]

It's like people who lived through the great depression and hoard everything just in case it should happen again. These people had their lives upended by power wielded over them through the cultural revolution. The only way to feel safe is if you're the one in power. Or maybe that's a charitable interpretation.
posted by roue at 10:34 AM on March 22, 2017 [3 favorites]

I read a book I think on the same topic-- it was good-- A Death in the Lucky Holiday Hotel: Murder, Money, and an Epic Power Struggle in China
posted by jcruelty at 11:20 AM on March 22, 2017

"And the next generation is not behind bars. Good-time Guagua will be 30 this year. He has recently graduated from Columbia Law School and is lying low in Canada."

Harrow->Oxford->Harvard. Amazing what blood money will buy you. It's like watching the Godfather, except it's a nuclear power.
posted by Abehammerb Lincoln at 11:27 AM on March 22, 2017

Jonathan Manthorpe wrote about Guagua in the Vancouver Sun in 2012.

It should be said that Manthorpe's China reporting can be a little breathless and excited. Manthorpe, now retired, is not a China specialist, in that he does not speak or read Mandarin at a professional competency, although he did run Southam's Asia Bureau in 90's (surprisingly, most foreign correspondents do not possess specialist knowledge of the countries they cover).
posted by My Dad at 12:06 PM on March 22, 2017

Breathless and excited is kind. The writing is lurid and condescending to subject and audience alike with a constant refrain of "And in China..."
posted by lazycomputerkids at 2:04 PM on March 22, 2017 [1 favorite]

I really enjoyed the bbc piece in the link, especially the notes she made about surveillance, history changing and sources, the slippery nature of the story itself because so little could be known by design even above the usual nature of journalism.

And I'd forgotten about the body double rumours! That there are people with stories sitting in exile - it really is such a splintered story of history happening now.
posted by dorothyisunderwood at 6:22 PM on March 22, 2017

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