As China Official Rose, His Family’s Wealth Grew

The New York Times is the latest to investigate the finances of Bo Xilai and look into how his political power may have helped enrich his extended family:

…Now, in the aftermath of Mr. Bo’s dismissal, on suspicions of corruption and accusations that his wife arranged the killing of a British business associate, there are mounting questions about whether Mr. Bo, who was most recently the party chief in the city of Chongqing and a member of the Politburo, used his enormous political clout to enrich himself and his closest relatives.

For much of the last decade, while Bo Xilai was busy moving up the ranks of the Communist Party, and even striking populist themes aimed at improving the lot of the poor, his relatives were quietly amassing a fortune estimated at more than $160 million. His elder brother accumulated millions of dollars’ worth of shares in one of the country’s biggest state-owned conglomerates. His sister-in-law owns a significant stake in a printing company she started that was recently valued at $400 million. And even Mr. Bo’s 24-year-old son, now studying at Harvard, got into business in 2010, registering a technology company with $320,000 in start-up capital.

Bo Xilai’s downfall this spring has also cast a sharper spotlight on the hidden wealth and power accumulated by the Communist Party’s revolutionary families, and by the sons, daughters, wives and close relatives of the nation’s high-ranking leaders.

“This could really open a can of worms,” says Bo Zhiyue, a senior fellow at the National University of Singapore’s East Asian Institute. “The relatives of other party leaders are also doing lots of business deals, and people will begin to ask: What about them? Was the Bo family the only one doing this kind of thing?”

For more on this story, see “Tracing the Sources of Bo Xilai’s Family Fortune” on CDT and read more about Bo Xilai.

April 24, 2012 3:36 PM
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Categories: Economy, Politics