NYT: Bo Wiretapped Communist Party Chiefs
Eavesdropping expanded to include party bigwigs
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 26, 2012 1:56 AM CDT
Updated Apr 26, 2012 2:15 AM CDT
The Chinese flag flutters in Tiananmen Square after the firing of Bo Xilai, once one of the country's most powerful politicians,   (Getty Images)

(Newser) – Another twist in the scandal shaking China: Bo Xilai was ousted as Chongqing party chief not just for his link to the murder of a British businessman, but for eavesdropping on a scale that would shame British tabloids, reports the New York Times, citing Communist Party insiders. The wiretapping program apparently involved the phones of almost every high-ranking party official to visit the city, and President Hu Jintao himself detected a wiretap when he called a senior anti-corruption official visiting Chongqing, the sources say.

The wiretapping began as part of a state-financed surveillance system, but officials were enraged to learn that Bo had expanded it to include party bigwigs, according to the sources. The scandal shows just how deep the mistrust runs at the top levels of the one-party state, analysts say, pointing to precedents during the Communist Party's 63-year rule. “This society has bred mistrust and violence,” explains historian Roderick MacFarquhar. “Leaders know you have to watch your back because you never know who will put a knife in it.”