Bo Xilai Expelled From Chinese Communist Party
Disposed Chinese Politburo member, Bo Xilai, was officially expelled from the Communist party on Friday and faces criminal prosecution, according to China's state media.
One of the post influential politicians and revolutionary leaders of China, Bo, 63, was the former Commerce Minister and Party chief of the southwestern metropolis of Chongqing. However, his ascending power came to a halt after his wife, Gu Kailai, was found guilty of poisoning Neil Heywood, a British businessman in August, claiming she was protecting her son in a business deal.
But the murder scandal was only one piece of Bo's allegations. He was also accused of corruption, "grave violations of party discipline" going back over a decade, including that Bo "had or maintained improper sexual relations with multiple women," according to The Daily Beast.
According the official Xinhua News Agency, the Politburo accused Bo of abusing power, taking bribes and bearing “a major responsibility” for the scandal, which has upset the Party’s secret and well-organized transition plans.
"Bo Xilai's actions created grave repercussions and did massive harm to the reputation of the party and state, producing an extremely malign effect at home and abroad," said the statement.
The Christian Science Monitor reported that given the seriousness of the allegations, Bo Xilai could face the death penalty.
The shakeup in power has some wondering whether it could have implications for the communist party in general. Gordon Chang, the author of The Coming Collapse of China, said he predicted in 2001 that the communist party would begin to falter in a decade. In an interview with Wall Street Journal back in April, he explained how the Neil Heywood murder scandal could "get ugly" and that Bo Xilai has been "pushed against a wall." However, since Bo Xilai retains popularity among his region of 32 million people, if protests break out, it could "mushroom out of control."
The New York Times reported that the expelling of Bo Xilai was being hailed as justice served:
- Li Zhuang, a lawyer who served an 18-month prison sentence in Chongqing during Mr. Bo’s crackdown after being found guilty of suborning perjury, welcomed the announcement of the accusations against Mr. Bo.
- Mr. Li’s case inspired an outcry among Chinese liberals, who accused Mr. Bo and police officers in Chongqing of taking aim at civilians who had nothing to do with organized crime.
- “This is great news, but also quite expected,” Mr. Li said in a telephone interview. “This is how things should be.”
- Mr. Li said he had been in Chongqing recently speaking with family members of people convicted during the crackdown.
- “Now that Bo has been expelled from the Communist Party,” he said, “there’s more hope for them to get justice.”
The party's decision is also being seen as a wider message to the country that it will not allow corruption, the abuse of power or lascivious lifestyles (all of which has not boded well with the public).
The Wall Street Journal reported:
- "No corrupt elements will escape discipline from the party and state legal system," Xinhua said, adding that Mr. Bo's actions "severely damaged the reputation of the party and the country and had an extremely negative influence domestically and abroad."
Yet despite making its message clear that it will not tolerate scandal, Bo's punishment and trial still has to be handled with caution, according to The Washington Post:
- Before Friday’s announcement, one former party official speaking on condition of anonymity explained the party’s dilemma this way: Letting Bo off with too light a punishment would bequeath to the new leadership an unresolved and potentially destabilizing figure. Punishing Bo too heavily, on the other hand, would risk angering his ideological allies and his many supporters, as well as his fellow “princelings” — influential figures who, like Bo, are the offspring of China’s revolutionary heroes.
Find more Neon Tommy coverage on Chinese politics here.