Bo Supporters Drawing Battle Lines Within the CCP

With Gu Kailai’s murder trial and conviction yesterday, leftist allies of disgraced former Chongqing party chief Bo Xilai remain adamant that he and his wife are victims of a conspiracy to curb his political rise and have dug in for an ideological battle over the future of the Chinese Communist Party. From Reuters:

The party’s far-leftists have openly accused top leaders of plotting to oust Bo, and even circulated by email and online an extraordinary petition calling for the impeachment of Premier Wen Jiabao. Its reported signatories included two retired senior officials, although this could not be independently confirmed.

“At least for now, I believe there are too many doubtful points about the case,” said Han Deqiang, an academic in Beijing, who has been one of ardent defenders of Bo’s policies in Chongqing, the southwestern city that Bo made into a display case of populist policies and traditional socialist culture.

“I believe that this whole incident was intended to eradicate Bo Xilai’s Chongqing model,” said Han, who teaches at the Beihang University school of business management. “They have destroyed a ray of hope for the Chinese Communist Party.”

The uproar over Bo shows that, as the Communist Party weaves between market reforms and state controls, it faces dissent not only from liberals, but also from fervent leftists who see the party as enslaved by capitalist interests.

Bo now awaits his own fate, writes The Australian’s Michael Sainsbury, along with former right-hand man Wang Lijun. From Bo to Wang to Neil Heywood, The Globe and Mail’s Mark MacKinnon details the characters filling out the cast of China’s latest and greatest drama. Even Xi Jinping, China’s president-in-waiting, has a part to play:

Their fathers stood on the opposite side of some of the key political crises of post-Mao China. While Bo Yibo lead the conservative putsch in 1986, and supported the Tiananmen Square crackdown three years later, Mr. Xi’s father, Xi Zhongxun, was a lone dissenting voice among the Communist Party leadership in both instances.

Mr. Xi’s ascension to the Standing Committee of the Politburo in 2002 is seen as having come at the expense of Mr. Bo. The question many China-watchers are asking now is whether Mr. Xi – who is about to become the most powerful man in China – shares his father’s political views, or whether he harbours any sympathy for his fallen fellow princeling.