Bo Xilai's downfall

Profile

July 1949              Born in Dingxiang, Shanxi province

October 1980        Joined Communist Party of China
1993                     Mayor of Dalian, Liaoning province

February 2001       Governor of Liaoning province

February 2004       Minister of Commerce

2007-2012             Member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee, Party Secretary of Chongqing Municipality

September 28, 2012 Removed from his position and expelled from CPC

July 25, 2013         Charged with embezzlement, bribery and power abuse in Jinan, Shandong province

Photo: Reuters

Bo Xilai’s downfall

Bo Xilai was one of the Communist Party's top leaders before he was felled by the most sensational political scandal to rock China in recent years.

Early years

Bo is the son of Bo Yibo, a powerful Communist Party elder and revolutionary Red Army commander.

As a child, he attended a top school in Beijing with other children of important officials.

But during the Cultural Revolution, his father was purged from his official posts and the younger Bo spent time at a labour camp.

He met and began a relationship with his first wife, Li Danyu, a military doctor who was also from a political elite family. The couple married in 1976 and had a son the following year.

After the Cultural Revolution ended, Bo enrolled in the prestigious Peking University, studying history.

He joined the Communist Party in 1980 and earned a masters degree in journalism from the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in 1982.

Fast track

Bo moved to the north-eastern Liaoning province in the early 1980s.It was during this period that he left his first wife and married Gu Kailai.

Bo Xilai's political career was set on the fast track when he was appointed mayor of the coastal city of Dalian.

He was credited with the stellar success and transformation of Dalian from an unremarkable port to a major city - one of the cleanest in China and a showcase of China's economic boom.

In 2001, Bo was appointed governor of Liaoning province. Three years later, he became China's commerce minister.

Chongqing model

In 2007, Bo became the party chief of Chongqing in south-western China and a member of the powerful politburo - one of the 25 most senior party officials in the country.

In the sprawling riverside megalopolis of Chongqing, the charismatic and urbane politician Bo launched a "smash black, sing red" campaign that promoted Chinese communist culture as zealously as it cracked down on organized crime.

From June 2009, Bo led a law and order drive that resulted in the arrest of thousands of suspected gangsters, but critics claim it also targeted his political adversaries.

The crackdown may have thrilled many in Chongqing's massive municipality of 32.8 million people -- almost four million of whom are rural migrant workers seeking work in the urban center -- but Bo's law-and-order campaign touched on one of China's growing social and political fault lines.

His populist policies and high-profile personal style were seen as a challenge to the economically liberal and reform-oriented faction within the Chinese Communist Party.

 

Fall to earth

His fall began in February 2012, when his former chief of police in Chongqing, Wang Lijun, spent a day at a US consulate in Chengdu.

Wang, who has been jailed for 15 years, triggered an investigation into the murder of UK businessman Neil Heywood.

Bo's wife, Gu Kailai, has been convicted and given a suspended death sentence for Mr Heywood's death.

Bo was removed from his post as party chief in Chongqing in March 2012.

He was charged with bribery, corruption and abuse of power on 25 July 2013 in Jinan, Shandong province.


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