Local Scandal Highlights China Succession Contests

Published February 16, 2012 7:00AM (EST)

BEIJING (AP) — Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping's U.S. visit this week shows he is all but certain to take over as China's next leader, but back home the competition is getting rough for the other top slots to run the country with him.

One contender, Bo Xilai, has been enveloped in a scandal over reports of an investigation into malfeasance by his former police chief. That has raised talk of a conspiracy to humiliate Bo while Xi is in Washington and push him out of contention.

China experts say heavy turnover this year on the party's leading bodies and the lack of a strong leader are fueling battles for places that defy the Chinese preference for quiet backroom deals and public consensus.

By Salon Staff

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