It’s the rare scandal that involves murder, corruption, Harvard University and comparisons to Jacqueline Kennedy. The Bo Xilai kerfuffle now mesmerizing China offers all this and perhaps more: It could forever change an entire political system.
Until March 15, Bo was the top official in the southwestern megacity of Chongqing and a political rock star. The 62-year-old was poised to join the Politburo Standing Committee, the nine- member group that exercises supreme power in China. Then, poof, his political fortunes vanished amid charges of “serious discipline violations” and a variety of racy rumors.
The most explosive involve Bo’s wife, Gu Kailai, and her ties to a murdered British business associate last November. It’s quite a stunning turn of events for a couple once dubbed the Jack and Jackie Kennedy of China. Gu, along with her Harvard-student son, had a dispute over economic interests with Briton Neil Heywood, Xinhua News Agency reported.
The scandal is creating a bull market in Beijing whispers. The conventional wisdom: Behind the scenes there was a concerted effort to halt Bo’s meteoric rise based on the “Chongqing model” -- a top-down push for social equality, with a strong role for government and huge infrastructure projects. Read More