Zhang: Chongqing Model “Did Not Exist”

He has lost his post as party chief of Chongqing, his membership in the National People’s Congress, the Politburo and the party itself, and faces criminal prosecution, and now Bo Xilai’s replacement in Chongqing has attempted to discredit the policy legacy that made Bo the darling of China’s leftists. Reporters caught up with Zhang Dejiang at the 18th Party Congress, according to Reuters, and asked the current party head of Chongqing to assess the future of Bo’s “Chongqing Model” of social and economic development:

“I think that there is no such thing as the Chongqing model,” interim party boss Zhang Dejiang told reporters.

But this did not mean the government would abandon the city, he insisted.

“The policy of reform and opening up for Chongqing will not change.”

Still, Chongqing mayor Huang Qifan admitted that the scandal had caused foreign and domestic investors to hesitate about putting their money in the city earlier in the year.

“The party and the central government took timely steps and since Zhang came in March we have taken a series of measures, including for … stable growth and stable investment, which we have carried out in full,” Huang said.

Zhang also said he does not know when Bo’s trial will take place, according to Bloomberg, echoing statements of uncertainty made earlier in the week by the lawyers appointed by Bo’s family. Elsewhere at the congress, a spokesman called Bo’s downfall  a “profound lesson” to other members of the party:

“Problems involving Bo Xilai and Liu Zhijun [the former railways minister also facing charges] are severe corruption cases that took place among senior leading cadres. The lessons have been extremely profound,” Cai Mingzhao, spokesman for the congress, told a news conference.

He added: “China is in the middle of a social transition and some areas are prey to corruption. The punishment and prevention of corruption is an arduous and ongoing task.”

See also previous CDT coverage of Bo Xilai and the 18th Party Congress.