- Bo Xilai, the former Chongqing Chief, has been expelled from the Communist
Party of China and placed under investigation, but his wife is officially
suspected of murdering a British citizen Neil Heywood, who died last November
in Chongqing .
A brief statement from Xinhua says that Bo Xilai "is suspected of being involved in serious breaches of discipline" and that is why the Party Central Committee has decided to expel him.
The fall of Bo Xilai (pictured with his wife and son) is one of the most spectacular political dramas in China since Tiananmen. Until a few weeks ago he was seen as a successful man, destined to join the Politburo Standing Committee. His populist campaign to revive Maoism distributing wealth to the poor was shared by several fringes of the party, including several "princes" like Xi Jinping, the heir apparent of President Hu Jintao. In his attempt to "clean Chongqing" of mafia triads, he used illegal methods and even arrested hundreds of party members. At the conclusion of the National Assembly, on 14 March, Premier Wen Jiabao criticized the " Chongqing authorities" for the way in which they dealt with the Wang Lijun case. The former assistant to Bo, who later became his enemy, took refuge for a day in the U.S. consulate in Chengdu (Sichuan) to seek asylum. Taken by police, he was transferred to Beijing and accused of treason. The day after Bo was replaced by Zhang Dejiang, an ally of Hu Jintao and now is publicly disgraced.
thickened even more with rumors about a possible coup that Bo was preparing
with the support of some army divisions.
The tension in the party is so strong that today the People's Daily has published an editorial in which calling on all Party members to "firmly support the decisions of the Central Committee." The article explains the expulsion of Bo and his investigation "shows respect for the facts and the law," and shows "the determination of the Party to maintain its purity and a clear position for the Protection of party discipline and laws of the State ". With his attitude, it states, "Bo has seriously violated the party discipline, causing damage to the cause and image of the Party and State."
From the "facts" and "investigations" of Wang Lijun a link between Bo, his family and the death of Neil Heywood has emerged. According to Xinhua, "Bogu Kailai, wife of Comrade Bo Xilai, and their son were on good terms with Heywood. But conflicts of interests became increasingly apparent. From the results of investigations, there is evidence that Heywood died as a result of murder and so we are suspicious of Bogu Kailai and Zhang Xiaojun, a Bo family domestic worker".
Previously, Heywood's death was attributed to alcohol poisoning. Heywood, 41, lived in Beijing with his wife and two children. He was on good terms with the son of Bo, Bo Guagua, helped by Heywood to attend Harrow School in Britain and the John F. Kennedy University in Cambridge (Massachusetts).
Although the Xinhua and the People's Daily continue to emphasize the "holiness"
and "purity of the Party", there is no doubt that this plot complete
with complex counter-plots, has brought to light the power struggle within the
Party in the lead up to the Congress to be held next October which should see
the return of seven of the nine members of the Standing Committee of the Party.
Bo Xilai's fall from grace recalls the expulsions and the charges against Chen Xitong, former Party chief in Beijing in 1995, and the party secretary of Shanghai, Chen Liangyu in 2006. But the intrigues are far more complex and the shadow of the murder of Heywood remind one even more the accident that killed Lin Biao, who was suspected of having prepared a coup against Mao. His plane crashed in 1971, while flying to Mongolia. In death he was expelled from the party and accused of treason.