Despite the best efforts of censors, the downfall of Bo Xilai and his wife, Gu Kailai, reverberated across the internet yesterday, with stunned bloggers comparing the couple's demise to high drama.
'As a person with critical thinking I am really slow and can't follow where the plots are leading. From today I belittle all screenplays, even Shakespeare. And from now on I respect all rumours,' said Sima Nan, a leftist academic.
'Questions persist in my mind ... why was the announced truth so similar to a version of rumours that circulated online last month?'
Mainland internet users have had a field day since Tuesday, when journalists and officials began publishing hints on social media and microblogs hosted by Sina and Tencent that Bo may have been put under shuanggui, or party disciplinary action.
The simultaneous announcement of the investigation of Bo and the police probe of his wife, Gu added fuel to the internet frenzy.
'Even a Hollywood blockbuster can't be compared to this,' claimed one Sina Weibo user.
'What else have they done?' asked Deng Fei, a journalist with the magazine Phoenix Weekly, writing on the Sina microblog.
'Now I understand why the government is campaigning to crack down on internet rumours - because they all turn out to be true,' wrote another internet user.
The government is seeking to assert control over the blogosphere, with official media publishing editorials and reporting the undertakings of social-media representatives to 'resolutely support and work with relevant government departments' in fighting the spread of rumours.
In recent days internet censors seemed to be working non-stop to delete any comment that seem to contain the names of Bo's family and Wang Lijun, Bo's former ally.
Even popular nicknames given to them by internet users were blocked by microblog operators.
Comments expressing sympathy were also quickly deleted by internet censors.
But one by Hong Huang, a columnist and media celebrity, which was permitted, said: 'In this country, whenever men do something bad, it's all the woman's fault.'
Another microblogger wrote bitterly: 'Wang Lijun is a real policeman and hero in a sense.'
Hu Xijin, chief editor of Global Times, in a tribute to the Communist Party, praised the ability of the central government to control the overall situation.
'The hurdle of the incident before the 18th party congress was crossed with a steady and orderly manner,' Hu said, supporting the decision to expel Bo.
But one cynical internet user lamented after Tuesday night's official announcements: 'This night will cost us taxpayers a lot of money.
'To see the internet suddenly flooded with comments supporting the rule of President Hu Jintao. They must have paid a lot of people to post such comments.'