Bo Xilai, Gu Kailai Targeted in Propaganda Campaign

As official media in China continue with a campaign to unite the public and the party behind the decision to dismiss former Chongqing party secretary Bo Xilai, speculation over the case is still rampant. The New York Times looks at the role of Bo’s wife, Gu Kailai, who has been accused of involvement in the murder of British businessman Neil Heywood:

Analysts say that by moving decisively to bury Ms. Gu and her husband, party leaders are trying to send a message to allies of Mr. Bo who are still putting up resistance. “This is why the dog who has fallen into the water is still being beaten,” said Steven Tsang, director of China Policy Institute at the University of Nottingham in England.

Official news media reports this week accused Mr. Bo of various disciplinary violations, not explicitly corruption. However, several people briefed on the investigation into the couple say that central authorities have included corruption among the accusations circulated to high-level officials in recent weeks.

People’s Daily, the party’s official newspaper, appeared to lay out a list of potential charges on Wednesday that could be brought against Ms. Gu and her husband, who is also the offspring of a revolutionary “immortal” and, like his wife, has long enjoyed the access to power that comes with such a pedigree.

The article said that corrupt party officials have been secretly using children, wives, friends and even mistresses to transfer and conceal ill-gotten wealth overseas. “Some even go through a variety of channels to clandestinely gain a foreign identity or dual nationality,” it said.

Meanwhile, friends of Heywood have provided some details on his background and his state of mind before his death, the Guardian reports:

Heywood’s friend told the Wall Street Journal that the businessman had been unable to reach any of his usual contacts after arriving in Chongqing. He had previously told the same friend he had left documents on the overseas investments of Bo’s family with a lawyer in Britain, as an “insurance policy” in case anything happened to him.

The newspaper, however, added that other friends of Heywood said they had not heard him talk about having a lawyer in Britain or leaving documents, and that it was not clear whether the documents actually existed.

Questions have been raised as to how Bo and Gu paid for their son Bo Guagua’s expensive education at two private schools in England – Papplewick and Harrow – and at Oxford University, given that Bo’s salary as an official would not have covered the fees and that his wife was said to have curtailed her career. Bo said he won full scholarships.

Heywood had previously told friends that Gu had become increasingly anxious that she had been betrayed by a member of the family’s inner circle. Relations appear to have soured in 2010 and the Times reported that Heywood unsuccessfully sought a passport for his Chinese wife that year, going straight to the Home Office in London with his mother.

Bo Xilai and Gu Kailai both come from powerful revolutionary families. It has now been revealed that Bo’s brother has been serving as a senior executive at one of the largest Chinese state-owned companies, China Everbright Holdings, under an assumed name.

See also:

- Bo Xilai tangled in a web of own making from the Financial Times
- Why the Bo Xilai affair ‘isn’t just about China’ from SBS
- Chinese Media Fight Scandal Fallout; Focus on Bo’s Family from the New York Times
- Media in China ordered to run People’s Daily editorial on front page, from China Media Project
- CDT’s previous coverage of Bo Xilai

April 12, 2012 11:58 PM
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Categories: Politics