Where’s Bo Xilai? The case of China’s glamour couple

Bo Xilai

Bo Xilai

Compared to almost a year ago, the glamorous couple Bo Xilai and Gu Kailai have disappeared into oblivion.

Bo Xilai – former ambitious mayor of the Manchurian port of Dalian and urbane Commerce Minister of China – had aspirated on the highest levels of power before his deep fall as power-conscious party leader in the megacity of Chongqing.

In the fall of 2011, even the new party chief Xi Jinping had hailed Bo Xilai’s “Chongqing model” as a model worth emulating. With a brilliant mixture of high-profile Mafia persecution and Mao nostalgia – combined with a good dose of charisma –  Bo had distinguished itself as a guide for a new China.

Obviously the highest party officials who had – as Premier Wen Jiabao and his father – suffered in their own body the persecution by Mao and Bo Yibo, Bo Xilai’s father, have been alarmed at the new “shooting star” and his undisguised ambition. Shortly before the 18th Congress of the Communist Party (CCP) they pulled the brake and let take Bo and his wife in prison. Since then loyal staff around Bo revenge with data leaks, especially to the «New York Times» in order to show that the families of top officials like Hu Jintao and Wen Jiabao, have raked hundreds of millions of dollars, if not billions, into their own accounts.

The affairs of his glamorous wife, Gu Kailai, should be turned a snare of Bo Xilai. A member of the Communist aristocracy, Gu had provided – with the murder of a shady British business person – the template for Bo’s removal. Both, Bo and Gu were arrested; among the many crimes of Bo Xilai appeared the allegation of abuse of power. Meanwhile, Gu Kailai been sentenced “lawfully”, by Chinese standards. Provided with the death penalty deferred by two years, the lawyer Gu probably sits in prison for life.

Originally there had been clear evidence that the party leadership would have done the “Case Bo Xilai” before the 18th Congress so that the new generation of leaders would not have to deal with a dangerous legacy.

Obviously, it has not happened.

Interestingly, Bo Xilai disappeared from the radar of the international observers. It would be interesting to find out why this case is not yet closed by a regime that otherwise does not go ahead squeamish in the removal of unwanted persons and topics.

From the party ranks you hear always the argument that Bo had been only a “small number”.

Why was this small number not simply shelved? By the same people there is no answer yet.

In important issues that may affect the outcome of struggles for power in the People’s Republic, once again, you are to rely on speculation.

We think there are two major problems.

First, there is this simple question: what should be the main charge against Bo Xilai?

It had been an easy game with murder in the Gu case. Bo might probably be accused of the abuse of power and corruption; if these sensitive issues would be taken up, they could seriously embarrass other party leaders.

However, we think that the situation is even more confounded.

Bo Xilai has – in an unusual degree for a top official – charisma and has both, high intelligence and shrewdness. He resembles very pronounced the founder of the People’s Republic, even though he naturally comes off the historic size and the consecration of the revolutionary who Mao Zedong appropriated.

Among the ordinary Chinese it would be difficult to find people who would go through fire for men like Xi Jinping and Li Keqiang. The followers of Bo obviously could not prevent his fall; but they seem strong enough to thwart his appearance in the party tribunal.

Author: Urs Schoettli, NZZ (Translated from German by nomade51)
Source: Neue Zürcher Zeitung – NZZ “Wo ist Bo? Der Fall des chinesischen Glamour-Paars”

Categories: Politics & Law

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

3 replies


  1. Trial of China’s Bo Xilai opens next week « China Daily Mail
  2. China: Justice at last for criminal defence lawyers persecuted in Beihai « China Daily Mail
  3. China’s Communist party takes page from Mao’s playbook | China Daily Mail

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