China Announces Plans for Party Congress and Prosecution of Bo Xilai

A long season of unexpected events is capped off with two clearly synchronized announcements — and the catastrophic fall of one of the Chinese Communist Party's brightest stars is dramatically assured

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Feng Li / Getty Images

Bo Xilai, China's Chongqing municipality Communist Party secretary, attends the third plenary meeting of the National People's Congress in Beijing in this file photo from March 9, 2012. Bo is to be expelled from the Communist Party and will face prosecution, state media reported on Sept. 28, 2012

Bo Xilai, the ambitious Chinese official whose rise was upended by his wife’s murder of an English businessman, has been kicked out of the Communist Party and will face prosecution on multiple criminal counts, the official Xinhua News Agency said Friday. The government mouthpiece also said the 18th Communist Party Congress, which will begin a once-in-a-decade transition of China‘s top leadership, is scheduled to begin Nov. 8. The twin announcements, both significant developments in stories that had roiled China for much of the past year, came just as the country was preparing for a long holiday to mark its Oct. 1 National Day, which will likely limit domestic discussion of the events.

Bo, who was removed from his post as party boss of the city of Chongqing in March, stands accused of abusing power in relation to his wife’s murder case, accepting massive bribes and “having and maintaining improper relationships” with several women. “Bo Xilai’s behavior caused serious consequences, which greatly damaged the reputation of the Party and the country, and had a very bad impact at home and abroad and caused significant damage to the cause of the Party and the people,” Xinhua said.

The announcement was issued just days after Bo’s former deputy Wang Lijun was convicted of abuse of power, bribe taking, defection and “bending the law for selfish ends” and sentenced to a 15-year prison term. Wang, who had previously served as Chongqing’s police chief under Bo, traveled in February to the U.S. consulate in the nearby city of Chengdu, where he spent a day under the protection of U.S. diplomats. While the U.S. hasn’t revealed the full details of Wang’s stay, it’s believed that he revealed details of the killing of businessman Neil Heywood by Bo’s wife Gu Kailai. Gu was convicted in August of poisoning Heywood at a Chongqing hotel after a long drinking session last November. Gu told investigators she killed Heywood, who had had a long relationship with the Bo family, over fears that he posed a threat to the couple’s adult son Bo Guagua because of a failed real estate development deal.

Bo’s downfall has added unexpected and at times macabre twists to this year’s political transition, in which President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao will begin relinquishing their leadership roles to their expected successors, Xi Jinping and Li Keqiang. The transition involves extensive behind-the-scenes negotiations as China’s Communist Party elites attempt to choose a combination of leaders who will appease all significant political factions. In public the process is carefully scripted, but this year has seen unexpected drama, from Wang’s flight to Gu’s murder trial to the two-week disappearance in early September of Xi, the presumed presidential successor. His absence from all public events was later explained by Tung Chee-hwa, Hong Kong’s former chief executive, as the result of a back injury.

Bo, 63, has been under investigation by a Communist Party disciplinary body for several months. He is accused of violating party regulations not only during his 4 1/2 years in Chongqing but also during previous stints as Minister of Commerce, governor of Liaoning province and mayor of the port city of Dalian, a period that spans 20 years. While in Chongqing, Bo and his former deputy Wang launched a massive crackdown on organized crime that gained him widespread attention even as investigators tortured defendants and violated basic rights of the accused. Those efforts had help make Bo a potential candidate for selection to the Politburo Standing Committee, China’s top ruling body, which will be reconfigured at the upcoming party congress. But he now faces the prospect of a lengthy prison term instead. Xinhua said Bo was expelled from the Communist Party, which means he will face a criminal trial rather than the possibility of lenient party discipline. His conviction is virtually guaranteed, as the verdict in such a high-profile political case will be ordered by party leaders.

Some political analysts had speculated that China would not want to hold Bo’s trial too close to the party congress, as it would give the appearance of a politically motivated prosecution and highlight rampant problems with corruption in China’s political system. “Bo Xilai failed in his oversight of Wang Lijun, so who failed to oversee Bo?”  activist lawyer Liu Xiaoyuan tweeted after the decision to prosecute Bo was announced.

By announcing Bo’s impending prosecution in nearly the same breath as the date of the party gathering — both were revealed at 6 p.m. Beijing time on Xinhua’s official Twitter feed — the leadership seems determined to use Bo’s case to strengthen the ruling party rather than weaken it. “The Communist Party’s Central Committee emphasized that the investigation and handling of Bo Xilai’s serious disciplinary problems further reflects the fundamental requirement of tightening party discipline and rule of law, a further indication of the clear-cut position and firm determination of our party against corruption,” Xinhua said.

31 comments
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Simco123
Simco123

Bo Xilai before the recent scandal was often louded and praised upon by western  media particularly the BBC who often says Bo is the closest China has to a western style politician. Well we all now know what that means. Western politicians are mostly corrupt and did things underhandedly under a false pretence of respectability and Bo Xilai is such a politician. What Bo Xilai did is considered a shock in China given his position as a mid ranking cabinet minister but in the West his crimes would be viewed as a misdemeanor and would not be considered unusual for a politician.

河本 昌美
河本 昌美

While listening to NHKBS's debate, where Former Chinese diplomat who had been Francaise traslator(通司、in Chinese way as far as I remember, tsuji as pronounced) alongside with 周恩来 est 毛沢東 days, he oftenly repeated it took China 33 years to progress like this, China is vast country and not like any other country in the world, and planned economic plan aiming to save lots of foreign currrncy reserve up today's level, took 33 years, and to my eyes, China at last spawned out starting to expand Chinese originl way  as if they try to conquer the world, looks rather Martian volcano erruption starts to flow.

CharlesWilliamMorganJr
CharlesWilliamMorganJr

Will Bo get to spend his time in prison with Gu?  Will they be able to have marital visits with each other?  Who supports them when they are released from prison?  Will they still be able to draw their Social Security?  These are normal genuine questions since they both performed "usual and normal" service in a Godless atmosphere! 

Jamie Wong
Jamie Wong

What's most stunning is Bo' private sexual life that's been unveiled as a result of his prosecution. He had sexual relatioships with over a hundred women, according to the Hong Kong newspaper Apple Daily.

rory2012
rory2012

He wish he is living in American,he will be another Clinton: book deal,movie deal and lecture tour. Four years later,another crack at the White House.God bless America.

omegafrontier
omegafrontier

 Oh yeah, Bill Clinton gave lectures about his sexual harassment, a movie about it too, a book about it too.  It makes so much sense.  But where are those lectures, book, and movie?  We all know that getting heads are same as killing another person.  This is China justice after all.

Go back farming gold.

mike921
mike921

This dude is going down hard.  You can do ANYthing here in China, but, when your right hand man ran to the Americans...

IQMinusOne
IQMinusOne

Bo's right hand man was facing arrest, and had to flee. A foreign embassy is probably the best shelter for him as the police could easily chase him down.

And once safe in an embassy, especially a high profile one like the USA, he could quickly place a call to Beijing and get away from Bo's police force, which had followed him all the way to the embassy.

snowleopard (cat folk gallery)
snowleopard (cat folk gallery)

His fate is alrady sealed for the ultimate crime among communist systems - never bring any embarassment to the party for ones deeds; do not be surprised if he unexpectedly 'dies of a heart attack' or such matter soon.

adam_onge
adam_onge

Is his son, the Ferrari boy Guagua Bo from that University in Massachusetts named Harvard going to stay in the US? Xilai Bo has another son from a previous marriage (so not Kailai's son like Guagua) who works for an American investment bank in New York, I believe. Besides Xilai and Kailai own some real estate in England, not to mention money in Singaporean bank accounts. Who gets that stuff? Guagua?

The Great Helmsman Mao Tsetung wouldn't approve any of this corrupt chinese communist peking opera.

Long Live the Proletariat!

LOL

oisewol
oisewol

I love China! 我爱中国!

IQMinusOne
IQMinusOne

I don't think you know Mao. He wouldn't approve, because he would order who could corrupt, and who couldn't.

> Long Live the Proletariat!

In China there are red capitalists already (meaning capitalists can join the the Party now).

But seriously, China's ideology now is not that much different from that of the Democrats. You might not believe it, but think about it.

oulemi
oulemi

On the contrary, China's party aristocratic ideology is very much like that of the far-right Republicans. Ask the poor in China if they have got any help from the government. Serving the people? It's nothing but self-serving rhetoric. The great majority of Chinese people, unlike the 47% loafing Americans according to Governor Romney, depend completely on themselves. Think about it.    

IQMinusOne
IQMinusOne

"Ask the poor in China if they have got any help from the government."

Their problems are not a lack of help at all. I have friends from rural China who told me that in order to do anything on their own land, they have to go through many levels of bureaucracy for approval,  which usually just means fees. In the end, it is very difficult to turn a profit as the harvest sometimes won't even cover the cost of the fertilizers.

The reason is that the government is trying to discourage the private sector and force people to get employment in government sponsored monopolies. This is the so called "socialism with Chinese characteristics", as is the official slogan.

When the government is trying to do business, it is not providing help any more. It is competing with the people. Because the government has political power, this causes rampant corruption. With free speech limited, and education full of propaganda, people will not even know how to do differently. This makes them intellectual slaves, with their lives at the mercy of the government, which has almost complete control of how much wealth the people can have. It is probably true that they are serving the people. It is just they are serving just enough for social stability.

You see, the government can either give people the fish, or let people fish for themselves.

In an established society, usually one ideology is dominant and it is not easy to change. But once it is changed, it is also very difficult to change back.

It seems to me  that at least some of the Democrats are trying to change the mode of America. Would that necessarily lead to a totalitarian society like China? It is hard to say. If the Americans are not careful, they might end up in an ideology that is the total opposite of how America started.

Bo Kong
Bo Kong

Actually, the CCP's ideology is much closer to Republicans not Democrats, low taxes, little welfare to normal people, strong against labor union, close to big business... you name it. That is why they always like republicans president than Democrats ones, like Nixon and both Bush.

IQMinusOne
IQMinusOne

China is not big business (I assume it means the private sector). China is not just big government, it is huge government.

You might also want to read my reply below to another poster.

Jamie Wong
Jamie Wong

They *liked* Bush Jr.?! Sorry but I have to differ.

owl905
owl905

 Facing prosecution in China is code for hearing the sentence after a pre-trial decision of guilty.  This reads more like byzantine politics than a wolf caught in the middle of the sheep herd.

snowleopard (cat folk gallery)
snowleopard (cat folk gallery)

Byzantine politics indeed - I might recommend reading a book entitled "The Chinese Machavellians." Its an older book on Chinese history and governence, yet provides a good insite into the systems national history that still has influence on the CCP to this date.

Mark Urbo
Mark Urbo

Thanks for that Snow - looked interesting and I ordered it from Amazon...

ddcannady
ddcannady

Wow, a Communist 1 percenter. How does a communist country have income disparity? The NYT referred to him as a party "aristocrat". They are certainly not realizing the dream of equality touted by Marx.

IQMinusOne
IQMinusOne

The Maoist were trying to implement equality, meaning all the people were poor.

The communists now in power used to be called capitalist roaders, as their ideology is "Let some get rich first".

Some reports say that the real reason Bo is purged is because he killed some capitalists for their wealth. That's not the "right" way to do it. The "right" way is to install their relatives in some companies to accept bribery from those capitalists, and also from foreign capitalists.

But Bo killed those capitalists using the legal system. So some drama had to be created to get rid of him.

omegafrontier
omegafrontier

 Are you a schizophrenic?

IQMinusOne
IQMinusOne

Who'd ask a yes-no question that has only one answer?

snowleopard (cat folk gallery)
snowleopard (cat folk gallery)

No 'workers paradise' or 'equality' as Marx envisioned.

dot2dotnews
dot2dotnews

When has a there ever been a workers paradise in history, sounds horrible, stacking 2.3 million stones weighing 2.5 tonnes each for a pharaoh sound fun? Pff Marx was a dick.

rusty cheeks
rusty cheeks

greed is everywhere

ddcannady
ddcannady

Which, pretty well, entirely negates the premise on which Marxism rests itself that it is the economic system that is at fault.