Ling Jihua - an aide to Hu Jintao - it seems will have a hard time being elevated to the Politburo Standing Committee. Why? Because his son (Ling Gu) died in a high speed car crash in a Ferrari.
This post is about the propaganda part of the story as reported by the South China Morning Post:
The semi-naked passengers were ethnic Tibetan and Uighur students from Beijing’s Minzu University, one of whom was now paralysed.Now a Ferarri Spider 458 is not exactly a big car. And playing with not one but two semi-naked students in such a confined space whilst driving at (say) 200 kilometres per hour stretches my imagination (but then I am a happily and conventionally married man so maybe my imagination does not go very far).
It seems significant that the other passengers were a Tibetan and an Uighur - their race matters.
Bill Bishop - a fairly astute China watcher - tweeted that he was sceptical of that detail - a detail released to cause maximum damage to Ling Gu's (and hence Ling Jihua's) reputation. Bill Bishop's scepticism is well-founded. If you are going to do a character assassination doing it in a race baiting manner works in China as it does in other countries.
That said, I asked the best connected China watcher I know whether he though the story as presented (two naked students of minority race in a small car) was plausible. This China watcher knew Ling Gu personally. And the response came back that that seemed just like the kid.
The death is real. But like everything else in China it all comes wrapped in a story where you have to question every detail.
And even when you question them its hard to decide what parts of the story are true.
That is how it is with most Chinese data. Spin beats truth enough of the time to make you question everything.
PS. I have been reliably assured that the Chinese gossip version of this story is that the women were high class hookers - and the deceased's dad is responsible for much Tibetan and Uighur policy.