Foreign Policy The collective shrug greeting the final thud in Zhou’s long descent undoubtedly constitutes a victory for China’s information-control apparatus, which has been engaged in a subtle and ongoing effort to push Zhou into irrelevance. By David Wertime
'It learned a lesson from Bo’s ouster — while that marked another major political victory for Xi, it also caused a sensation on social media, one the state seemed unable to control. By contrast, party-led media has been gradually dribbling out signals of Zhou’s inevitable political doom since early 2014. That strategy has created an air of inevitability, even banality, around each successive lurch toward the historical dustbin, from Zhou’s house arrest, to his expulsion from party ranks, to his indictment, trial, and swift sentencing.
'The only superlatives in state reports centered
on the staggering quantities of lucre involved. Zhou amassed at least
$21 million worth of bribes and helped others rake in another $344
million by abusing his position, according to reports, while his wife
and son together agglomerated money and property worth about $129
million. Zhou also caused $240 million in what state media called
“economic damage,” and purposefully leaked five top-secret documents
(none of which caused serious harm). Zhou did not reportedly contest any
of the charges. He wasn’t sentenced to death, state media wrote,
because he had admitted his crimes, assisted the investigation against
him, and successfully persuaded family members to return their spoils.'