Bo Xilai, Party chief of China’s central-western mega-city of Chongqing, made his first public comments on the Wang Lijun affair recently, defending his controversial “hitting the black” political campaign and attempting to distance himself from his former top lieutenant who was recently branded a traitor.
Bo made the remarks in a panel deliberating on the government work report held by the Chongqing delegation during the fifth session of the 11th National People’s Congress, dubbed the two meetings, at the Great Hall in Beijing on March 9.
In the press conference Bo denied that he had resigned, as rumors had indicated, and said he was “heartbroken” about Wang Lijun’s apparent treachery. “I had put my trust in the wrong person as a supervisor. However, we cannot discredit ‘hitting the black’ campaign,” he said, before launching into a full-throated defense of the latter.
“It is not carried out just by public security bureau, but rather is a concerted effort by public security, the procuratorate, the court, the judiciary, and the national security bureau, in addition to the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection. It is coordinated by the Political and Legislative Affairs Committee,” he said. “Wang Lijun is not the only one who has something to do with it.”
Meanwhile, Hu Jintao has taken steps to reassert control over the military.
His opponents, and top officials in the Party, will collect more evidence of Bo’s corruption and political problems, Bo’s downfall is only a matter of time.
－Political commentator Chen Pokong
Prior to the two meetings, Hu Jintao made the military pledge loyalty and allegiance to “Chairman Hu,” and while Hong Kong’s Mingpao quoted sources saying that Hu will follow former leader Jiang Zemin’s steps and take charge of the military after the 18th Party Congress.
When asked why Hu Jintao has not visited Chongqing in recent years, Bo argued that the Party chief does attach “great importance” to the city, and that Bo has been a loyal adminstrator.
Among the nine members of the Politburo Standing Committee, only Hu Jintao, Wen Jiabao and Li Keqiang have not visited Chongqing during Bo’s reign. All others have been there to endorse Bo’s neo-Maoist “Singing red, hitting black” campaign.
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Writer and commentator Xia Xiaoqiang said the incident marks the conclusion of the opening chapter of the CCP’s power struggle, with Bo having brought Zhou Yongkang out from behind the shadows.
Zhou Yongkang is the head of the Political and Legislative Affairs Committee, and a stalwart of previous regime leader Jiang Zemin.
Bo has sent the message, or tried to send the message, that his campaign has high-level political support. Zhou Yongkang and Bo are in it together, Xia argued, adding that Zhou is different from Bo in that he controls millions of paramilitary police and has been a big concern for his opponents and incumbent leaders Hu and Wen.
At the opening of the 11th National People’s Congress on March 5, premier Wen Jiabao said, “We will strengthen ideological and political standards, and adhere to the fundamental principle of the party having absolute leadership over the armed forces, and we should maintain the Chinese armed forces’ fundamental purpose of being an army of the people,” according to the Associated Press.
While Wen’s remarks on the military were almost identical to those in last year’s address, the reference to Party control was new, according to AP.
In February, Beijing’s military institutions under CCP Central Military Commission initiated a campaign to declare allegiance prior to the 18th Party Congress. The 18th Congress will be held in the fall of 2012. Each army head has made public statements of allegiance, and stressed to “follow the command of CCP Central Committee, CCP Central Military Commission and Chairman Hu.”
These are all a prelude to the final showdown of the infighting between Jiang and Hu, Xia said, predicting that more intense infighting will follow.
Bo Xilai failed to show up in an important meeting on March 8. There were rumors on microblog that he had “escaped and was killed,” and these messages were not blocked. Subtly unfavorable reports of Bo were also aired by CCTV, the state mouthpiece.
All these signs indicate that Bo will be deposed and “has become a piece of meat on the cutting board,” according to Xia.
Political commentator Chen Pokong wrote in a recent analysis that although Bo has been making high profile appearances recently, and is probably not going to go down in March, the CCP may be setting in for a long and enduring power struggle, lasting from months to years.
“His opponents, and top officials in the Party, will collect more evidence of Bo’s corruption and political problems,” Chen wrote. “Bo’s downfall is only a matter of time.”
Read the original Chinese article.