Full transcript. Excerpt below:
ZAKARIA: So this sounds like something out of a murder mystery. I mean how do you think most Chinese people are reacting to this news that they're getting that this guy who was really one of the most admired people in China, from what we could tell, has suddenly been now revealed to be a corrupt hack or is being kind of painted as a corrupt hack by officials?
OSNOS: This story is unprecedented. I mean we're talking about the world's second largest economy, the most powerful men in charge. Bo Xilai was going to be perhaps one of the nine people running the country this fall.
And, now, he has been -- he has fallen from grace in the course of just a few weeks. And this has really left people's head spinning because, in the Chinese press, they're being told every day that this man was a criminal. This man who had been celebrated just a couple of months ago.
And this is very hard for the party to explain to people. How is it that a man who, evidently, is now a criminal, who's accused of wire-tapping his own peers, could have, in fact, gotten so high and been celebrated so recently. This is a problem that's hard to reconcile for the leadership.
ZAKARIA: And what is the larger point here because, in the Chinese press, he's being portrayed as a criminal and kind of a bad apple. But, obviously, this is also about a power struggle.
OSNOS: Yes, this is the part that's especially awkward for the leadership because what they've got is a case in which the details themselves are so spectacular. Let's think about it.
We've got a police chief fleeing to the U.S. Consulate in Chengdu seeking protection from the Americans saying that his boss's wife has murdered an English businessman, poisoned him in a hotel.
We've then got rumors coming up on the Internet and then eventually being confirmed by Western reporters that show that, in fact, the Bo Xilai family had assembled an enormous fortune. We don't know how large, but perhaps into the millions or the hundreds of millions of dollars that they were trying to move out of the country.
And the party has tried to say very carefully that this is a criminal matter, regard this as one bad apple. But what we now know, in fact, is that this is just the outward expression of what is a deep and intense political contest going on at the highest ranks of the Communist Party.