Tracing the Sources of Bo Xilai’s Family Fortune

With allegations that former Chongqing party secretary Bo Xilai’s wife may have planned the murder of British associate and friend Neil Heywood when he threatened to reveal the extent of her overseas assets, journalists are trying to parse together exactly how much Bo and his family are worth. Bloomberg has an extensive report looking into the finances and lucrative positions of Bo’s extended family, including his son from his first marriage: Li Wangzhi, who had joined Citigroup after earning a master’s degree at Columbia University, was the first son of Bo Xilai, according to two schoolmates of Li and repeated on an online publication affiliated with the Ministry of Culture. Extended family members of Bo, then commerce minister and now ousted Chongqing Communist Party boss, have also had positions in such firms as alternative-energy company China Everbright International Ltd. (257), according to data compiled by Bloomberg. While the accumulation of influence is commonplace among relatives of politicians worldwide, the Bo family fortune of at least $136 million may fuel perceptions of corruption in the Communist Party and deepen social tensions over China’s widening wealth gap. The party has sought to cordon off from politics the investigations of Bo and his second wife, arrested on suspicion of murder, with an official commentary stating that the inquiry is solely a matter of law. “The danger for them, the Chinese, is that the whole of the Politburo and their Central Committee colleagues will be exposed as a new property-owning class,” said Roderick MacFarquhar, a Harvard University professor who focuses on Chinese politics. “It’s already got out of hand. The problem for the regime is that it is now out in the public sphere.” Bloomberg earlier reported on the extensive business empire run by the sisters of Gu Kailai, Bo’s wife. Government investigators have ...
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One Response to Tracing the Sources of Bo Xilai’s Family Fortune

  1. Will says:

    Fat overseas bank accounts are the rule, not the exception, for members of the Party Central Committee and their relatives. Many such accounts are in countries with bank secrecy laws such as Switzerland. Diplomatic cables uncovered by Wikileaks have confirmed this. When even Hu Jintao’s annual salary is only about US$10,000, the question is where does this money come, and as a payment for what sort of services or access?