Righting Wrongs in Chongqing

With former municipal party chief Bo Xilai awaiting trial, his erstwhile right hand man Wang Lijun already sentenced, and rising star Sun Zhengcai now in place as Bo’s successor, Chongqing is quietly cleaning itself up. Many of those who fell foul of Bo and Wang are being rehabilitated, including Weibo user Ren Jianyu, lawyer Li Zhuang, and almost a thousand “fired, demoted or otherwise unjustly treated” police officers. From Gillian Wong at the Associated Press:

Many in Chongqing are breathing easier […] after Bo’s rocky reign, which won praise for an organized crime crackdown and promotion of communist culture and then widespread scorn as his career unraveled in seamy accusations of murder and corruption.

“I feel that this redress is necessary,” Wang Kang, an outspoken scholar in Chongqing, said in a phone interview. “This was a burden that was left in Chongqing. This burden must be removed so that Chongqing can breathe a sigh of relief.”

Chongqing, a breathtaking city of skyscrapers hugging steep hills along the Yangtze and Jialing rivers, has been portrayed as rife with cover-ups, power abuse and corruption under Bo and his police chief, Wang Lijun, in court documents. Since their removal, Bo’s wife has been sentenced to life imprisonment for murdering a British businessman and Wang given 15 years for corruption and covering up the murder. Bo awaits trial after the Communist Party purged him for obstruction of justice, corruption and sexual liaisons with numerous women.

The scandal exacerbated already divisive politicking for spots in the new Communist leadership, which culminated at a party congress last month. A new party secretary was chosen for Chongqing, a former agriculture minister known as a consensus-builder. In widely quoted remarks just days into his post, Sun Zhengcai said he was “resolutely opposed to the vulgar, extravagant, degenerate and depraved way of life.”

At Economic Observer, Pang Lei notes a particularly symbolic development: the removal of Wang’s calligraphy from two giant stone orbs at the entrance to Chongqing’s Public Security Bureau headquarters. The Observer marked the occasion with the evocative headline ‘Wiping Wang Lijun’s Balls From History’.


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