The new Chinese Communist Party leader of the Chongqing megalopolis said fallout from the Bo Xilai scandal has damaged the image of the Party and will affect the city’s development.
In remarks delivered at the Chongqing CCP leadership meeting on Monday, party head Zhang Dejiang criticized Bo, the man he replaced, for “greatly damaging the image of the Party” and China, according to a transcript published on the city’s website.
Bo, a former Politburo member and formerly considered a rising star in the CCP, was ousted from power in March and is reportedly under investigation for serious “disciplinary violations.” Zhang referred specifically to the death of British businessman Neil Heywood in the Monday speech—though the Party’s case against Bo goes far beyond that.
In February, Bo’s chief of police, Wang Lijun, fled to a U.S. Embassy in an attempt to seek asylum, essentially marking the beginning of Bo’s downfall. Zhang also referred to the Wang Lijun incident.
Bo is part of a “bloody hands” faction, meaning he is a key ally to former leader Jiang Zemin and Politburo Standing Committee member Zhou Yongkang, who oversees the powerful Political and Legislative Affairs Committee (PLAC). Bo and Zhou are reported to have conspired to seize the leadership of the country, which was to happen after Xi Jinping was installed as Party and state chief later this year. Officials testify to Bo setting up eavesdropping on top Party leaders. He is also guilty of fomenting a personality cult in Chongqing centered around Maoist revivalism and crackdowns (and asset stripping) against businessmen and criminals labeled as belonging to the mafia.
When Bo was removed from power, it also exposed the rift between the bloody hands faction and Party leaders Hu Jintao and Wen Jiabao, ahead of the all-important leadership change in October.
Zhang’s criticism of Bo is a rarity in China as many state-run media entities and government officials have mostly remained silent on the issue ever since the former Chongqing boss was stripped of power.
Zhang also said, “We believe we should separate the achievements in Chongqing and the hard work of its residents in the past five years” from Bo’s dismissal and violations, the death of Heywood, and Wang Lijun’s escape to the U.S. consulate.
Bo is accused of nepotism, corruption, and abusing his power by seeking forced confessions, using torture, and committing other offenses. Bo is said to have remained loyal to Jiang Zemin by zealously carrying out the persecution of Falun Gong practitioners.
When Chongqing’s former top cop, Wang Lijun, fled for his life to the U.S. Consulate in Chengdu on Feb. 6, he set in motion a political storm that has not subsided. The battle behind the scenes turns on what stance officials take toward the persecution of Falun Gong. The faction with bloody hands—the officials former CCP head Jiang Zemin promoted in order to carry out the persecution—is seeking to avoid accountability for their crimes and to continue the campaign. Other officials are refusing any longer to participate in the persecution. Events present a clear choice to the officials and citizens of China, as well as people around the world: either support or oppose the persecution of Falun Gong. History will record the choice each person makes.
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