Doubts Arise Over Guagua’s Red Ferrari

The New York Times dives deeper into the mythic tale of Bo Guagua’s red Ferrari, a rumor which first emerged in November and has since lingered as scrutiny over his lifestyle has grown. After interviews with Bo, the daughter of the former U.S. Ambassador to China, and several others, David Barboza and Edward Wong report that many details of the evening in question turned out to be incorrect:

The interviews help reveal how what began as gossip made the rounds in expatriate circles in Beijing until it became an accepted truth about the Bo family. One person who told the version of the story that eventually surfaced was Mr. Huntsman, who ran for the Republican presidential nomination after his stint here as ambassador. At least two diplomats in Beijing said they heard it from him before he left Beijing in late April 2011. (The New York Times reported this April that American officials had said came to the ambassador’s residence in a . )

Ms. Livingston, one of two Huntsman daughters at the dinner, said in her role as family spokeswoman, “My dad’s version of the story has always been a reflection of what we told him.”

The way the story caught fire so quickly shows the kind of fascination that the lifestyles of China’s elite can evoke in a nation where the upper echelons of the party exist in a world apart from those they govern.

“I did not drive at all that evening, and certainly did not sit in a red sports car,” Bo Guagua said by telephone on Friday, in his first interview since his father was deposed and both parents were put under investigation. “I’m not sure where this story comes from.”

Even Mr. Bo’s appearance was wrong in the account: he did not wear a tuxedo, people at the dinner said.

Bo issued a statement to the Harvard Crimson last week in which he refuted allegations made about his lifestyle and denied that he had driven in a Ferrari.

May 1, 2012 8:40 PM
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