Party leftwing wants to save Bo Xilai
Beijing (AsiaNews) - A leftwing group of members of the Communist Party has called on the National People's Congress (NPC) not to expel Bo Xilai, the disgraced former Chongqing party leader, who fell from power as a result of ferocious party infighting. His wife Gu Kailai's arrest for the murder of a British businessman sparked his fall.
In an open letter, supporters of the former Communist leader urge China's parliament not to expel him. Carried on the far-left Chinese-language website Red China, the letter was addressed to the parliament's Standing Committee, saying that the party is fuelling doubts about the accusations against Bo by refusing to discuss them publicly.
Stripping Bo's membership would remove his immunity from prosecution, and pave the way for formal charges against him. For his supporters, the move is legally questionable and politically motivated.
Bo is accused of taking kickbacks and much more. His wife received the death penalty for the murder of Neil Heywood, but the sentence was suspended. Bo's right hand man, Chongqing Public Security Bureau Chief Wang Lijun was sentenced to 15 years in prison for corruption and defection.
The letter said there were still many doubts over the murder charges against Gu Kailai, as well as questions about how defendants were allowed to defend themselves and the shortness of the two court cases.
The NPC's Standing Committee, which is scheduled to meet from 23 to 26 October, is expected to expel Bo Xilai. The Politburo expelled Bo from the party late last month and Chongqing's people's congress voted to strip him of his NPC membership, a decision that must however be formally ratified by the parliamentary body.
Bo's fall is the result of a riff among political factions within China's Communist leadership. On 8 November, the Communist Party will hold its 18th congress, which will mark the transfer of power to a fifth generation of leaders, led by Xi Jinping.
Bo was supposed to join the Politburo's Standing Committee, the seven-member body (down from nine) that de facto governs the country.
Meanwhile, former president Jiang Zemin made a high-profile foray into the public eye as he sent congratulations to his former middle school, in Yangzhou, Jiangsu, on its 110th anniversary.
Late last month, Zemin, who heads the so-called Shanghai Clique, attended a concert in Beijing along with his protégés. In doing so, he reasserted his presence, showing that he still can influence national politics, analysts say.