Power Struggle Grips Chinese Regime: Timeline

March 26, 2012 Updated: October 1, 2015


This article covers events only until April 18, 2012; please see the interactive timeline for updates.

Zhou Yongkang walking the plank, with Bo Xilai and Wang Lijun below (Illustration)
Zhou Yongkang walking the plank, with Bo Xilai and Wang Lijun below (Illustration)

As events swiftly unfold in the power struggle among members of highest echelons of the Chinese Communist Party, here we list the key moments so far. 



    • Feb. 2: Wang Lijun removed from his job as chief of the Public Security Bureau in Chongqing.

    • Feb. 6: Wang Lijun attempts to defect at U.S. Consulate in Chengdu City, 200 miles from Chongqing.

    • Feb. 7: Many photos appear on microblogs that show police cars surrounding the consulate while Wang Lijun is inside. It appears Bo Xilai caught wind of Wang’s whereabouts and tried to intercept.

    • Feb. 8: Wang Lijun is sent to Beijing—according to a leaked flight ticket—and put under investigation by the Central Disciplinary Committee.

    • Feb. 8: Chongqing City Hall says Wang Lijun is on “vacation-style medical treatment.”

    • Feb. 11: Bo Xilai meets with Canadian Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, but without posing for a public photo.

    • Feb. 14-17: Xi Jinping, the next Chinese regime leader, visits the United States.

    • Feb. 15: Washington Free Beacon says Wang Lijun provided key information to the U.S. government about Bo Xilai and Zhou Yongkang and how they plan to thwart Xi Jinping’s rise to the top of the CCP.

Click this tag or www.ept.ms/ccp-crisis to read about the most recent developments in the ongoing power struggle within the Chinese communist regime. Intra-CCP politics are a challenge to make sense of, even for veteran China watchers. Here we attempt to provide readers with the necessary context to understand the situation. Get the RSS feed. Who are the Major PlayersChinese Regime in Crisis RSS Feed

    • Feb. 15: Guan Haixiang, a Hu Jintao loyalist, is made new public security bureau secretary in Chongqing, taking over from Wang Lijun.

    • Feb. 16: U.S. House members order investigation into the administration’s handling of Wang Lijun’s attempted defection and any information he may have passed to consular officials.

    • Feb. 17: Bo Xilai absent from important meeting in Chongqing.

    • Feb. 28: Information about Wang Lijun being involved in live organ harvesting emerges.

    • March 14: Wen Jiabao criticizes Bo Xilai during a news conference on the last day of the National People’s Congress in Beijing.

    • March 15: Bo Xilai is fired.

    • March 16: Former Bo Xilai ally, Chongqing Mayor Huang Qifan, turns against Bo and says publicly that he supports the central leadership’s decision to sack him.

    • March 19: Rumors fly that there is a paramilitary presence in downtown Beijing and a coup is underway.

    • March 20: Bo Xilai is rumored to be under house arrest.

    • March 20: Second apparent unblocking of Chinese firewall; searches related to The Epoch Times, June 4, and Falun Gong possible for a period of time in China.

    • March 21-22: Rumors say that Zhou Yongkang has been “controlled” internally. A source later tells The Financial Times the same thing.

    • March 22: Global Times, a Chinese regime mouthpiece, publishes an editorial asking for clarification on what is going on amid the political upheaval.

    • March 22: Zhou Yongkang missing from high-level meeting in Shanghai.

    • March 23: Zhou Yongkang meets Marty M. Natalegawa, the Indonesia foreign minister, but not Zhou’s counterpart, in Beijing.

    • April 10: Bo Xilai is removed from his Party posts, and put under the investigation of the CCP’s disciplinary committee.

    • April 14: People’s Daily publishes an editorial titled, “No one should think that criminal charges won’t be pursued against top Party officials,” pointing to Zhou Yongkang.

    • April 18: Bo Xilai’s other son, Li Wangzhi, is revealed to be supportive of democracy in China, and reportedly under house arrest on Bo’s orders.