What is happening in China? That is about the most interesting political question on the planet just now, and the most difficult to answer. The officially acknowledged or otherwise plausibly attested facts of the Bo Xilai affair are worthy of a blockbuster political thriller. Its deeper causes, however, go to the heart of the weird, unprecedented system of Leninist capitalism that has emerged in China over the past 30 years. Its possible consequences for change in, perhaps one day even of, that system will do more to shape the 21st-century world than anything currently happening in Washington, Moscow, New Delhi or Brussels. Behind the walls of the Communist party leadership compound, next to the old Forbidden City, the ghost of Hegel has somehow got mixed up with Robert Ludlum.