Bo Guagua, the son of former high-ranking Chinese communist official Bo Xilai, on the afternoon of Aug. 19 placed a new picture on his Facebook page, one that shows him as part of a united family, descended from a revolutionary hero. That evening, he released a statement to the New York Times, expressing solidarity with his disgraced parents, one of whom sits in jail, and one of whom awaits a trial set for Thursday.
The younger Bo said that he has not seen his father, Bo Xilai, or mother, Gu Kailai, for 18 months. “I can only surmise the conditions of their clandestine detention and the adversity they each endure in solitude,” he wrote.
Bo Guagua said that he hopes for his father’s Thursday trial that Bo Xilai is “granted the opportunity to answer his critics and defend himself without constraints of any kind.”
He added that “if my well-being has been bartered for my father’s acquiescence or my mother’s further cooperation, then the verdict will clearly carry no moral weight.”
Bo Guagua is currently enrolled in Columbia University’s School of Law, a course of education that is estimated to cost over $80,000 per year. Many in the China watching community have suspected that Bo Xilai has struck a deal with the authorities to allow his son freedom overseas, including the use of assets that the family is thought to have accumulated over the years of Bo Xilai’s high-profile political career.
Most observers also suspect that Bo Xilai will not be given a proper trial, in the sense of those dispensed in countries with court systems that function independently of the political regime: his crimes are understood to have been carefully decided by Party political committees behind closed doors, while the trial will mostly be a charade, reflecting the compromise reached among competing political factions in the Chinese Communist Party.
The New York Times published Bo Guagua’s statement at about 9:00 p.m. EDT on Aug. 19.
At around 1:00 p.m. the same day, Bo updated his Facebook account, according to pictures circulated widely on Chinese social media and news services. In the picture, Gu Kailai stands to the side as Bo Xilai holds his son, Bo Guagua, who is kissing the right check of Bo Yibo, Bo Xilai’s father and one of the “Eight Immortals” of the Chinese Communist Party. Bo Yibo was a revolutionary fighter in the Party before it seized power in China. He was purged during the Cultural Revolution, but made a political comeback, eventually supporting the rise of his son, Bo Xilai.