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Posts Tagged ‘Wang Lijun’

Bo Xilai, Top China Communist Politician, Dismissed From Chongqing Office

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on March 15, 2012

BEIJING — As big city politician Bo Xilai rose to nationwide prominence with an anti-mafia crusade and mass sing-alongs of communist anthems, many of China’s leaders trekked to his metropolis approvingly. Not President Hu Jintao.

Hu’s conspicuous absence from Chongqing, one of China’s biggest cities, was telling. The charisma and self-promotion that made Bo popular with many Chinese at times alienated his political peers. On Thursday, the Communist Party sidelined Bo, removing him from his post as Chongqing’s Communist Party boss and highest-ranking official, and likely ending his chances of promotion to the highest ranks of power that seemed within grasp only months ago.

Tall and telegenic, Bo is an anomaly that proves the rule in Chinese politics.

His confidence in public, bordering on flamboyance, and his ease with the media clashed with the low-key, collegial and bland style preferred by the Chinese leadership. Ever since charismatic, populist Mao Zedong mired China in poverty and political chaos, his successors have worked to make sure no one person would dominate. Instead, rule would be by consensus among members of a collective leadership. Bo was a threat to that balance.

“This proves that the Communist Party has accomplished dominance by a bureaucratic clique, rather than dominance by a strongman,” said Wang Lixiong, an activist for democracy and minority rights in Beijing. Such unity, Wang said, means the party will continue to protect its power and not undertake meaningful democratic changes. “The Communist Party is more stable, so reform becomes more hopeless.” Read the rest of this entry »

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Chinese power politics: Bo Bo, Black Sheep

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on March 15, 2012

 

IN A dramatic high-level political shake-up, China used the Ides of March to announce the removal of Bo Xilai from his post as the Communist Party boss of the south-western city of Chongqing. State media reported that Mr Bo has been replaced by Zhang Dejiang, who will also retain his spot as Vice Premier of the People’s Republic.

Mr Bo was badly damaged by a scandal in which his key deputy, Chongqing’s vice mayor and its top police official, Wang Lijun, spent a full day in an American consulate last month. It was apparent that he went seeking asylum. Turned out by the Americans, Mr Wang has since been placed under investigation—leading to widespread speculation as to whether his actions had to do with corruption, political infighting, or both.

Mr Bo’s dismissal came just one day after China’s premier, Wen Jiabao, took a thinly-veiled swipe at Mr Bo during a nationally televised press conference, at the close of the annual full session of parliament. Commenting on the Wang Lijun case, Mr Wen said that Chongqing’s leaders “must reflect seriously and learn from” the episode.

Prior to that incident, Mr Bo had plausible hopes of being elevated to the Politburo’s Standing Committee, the nine-member body that effectively rules China. The Politburo’s new composition is due to be unveiled later this year at the Party Congress, an event which is held only once every five years.

It had appeared that Mr Bo might have survived the moment of crisis, when he made a very public appearance earlier during the 10-day parliamentary session. He used it to acknowledge “negligent supervision” in the matter of Wang Lijun, and also struck a populist note about China’s growing inequality. At his chaotic press event, from which hundreds of reporters were turned away, he said that China’s Gini coefficient had risen above 0.46. The central government has not reported its Gini figures, a standard measure of inequality, for years. Mr Bo said that “if only a few people are rich then we are capitalists, we’ve failed.” Read the rest of this entry »

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