Dalian Museum Purges Bo Xilai Exhibits

By Carol Wickenkamp
Carol Wickenkamp
Carol Wickenkamp
August 6, 2013 Updated: August 6, 2013

Disgraced Chinese politician and Communist Party official Bo Xilai has now been purged from the museum of the city where he made his political fortune.

With Bo’s trial for corruption commencing soon, exhibits which previously glorified his accomplishments in Dalian during his tenure there as mayor have now disappeared, reports the South China Morning Post.

While mayor of Dalian, Bo spearheaded many projects, including the construction of the very museum which now features Inner Mongolian artifacts and a display of pipes and stamps rather than Bo’s past glories. Formerly exhibits of Bo’s projects—the local football team, female mounted policewomen, and an international fashion show—featured prominently in the museum which now dares not utter his name.

High level Chinese Communist Party (CCP) officials do not remember Bo as fondly as do the football and fashion fans. Overseas Chinese language newspapers believed that Bo and then head of the Party’s security apparatus, Zhou Yongkang, were plotting a failed coup in 2012, and that the plan unraveled with Bo’s Chongqing subordinate, ex-police chief Wang Lijun, attempting to defect to the United States consulate in Chengdu.

Air-brushing Bo out of Dalian City’s museum is not an unprecedented act; purging history is a tactic frequently used to remove smudges from the Party’s image.

“There’s this idea of getting rid of everything, the person and the accomplishments,” Maria Repnikova, a Communist Party media expert, told South China Morning Post.

“While it might appear disturbing to many observers, if you look at other historic events it seems like this method has been used in the past,” she said.

Bo ingratiated himself to former head of the CCP, Jiang Zemin, while mayor of Dalian and used his success there as a step ladder to a higher position in Chongqing, with an eye to bigger things in the Party.

But his proactive involvement in the persecution of Falun Gong, at Jiang’s behest, brought on numerous lawsuits outside of China, filed by Falun Gong practitioners in several countries.

A Wikileaks cable from the U.S. Shanghai Consulate revealed that Bo Xilai’s political career was stalled because of the lawsuits, and then premier Wen Jiabao made the case that Bo was not suitable for a higher profile because of them.

He was subsequently shunted to Chongqing in the southwest, where he began a campaign of mobilizing Maoist song events, and rooting out alleged mafioso in order to confiscate their assets.

Carol Wickenkamp
Carol Wickenkamp