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Bo Xilai's Ouster: Implications for the Country

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Published on Mar 26, 2012

HRIC Commentary
2012-03-20
18th Party Congress Watch (6)
Gao Wenqian, HRIC Senior Policy Advisor

The annual Two Sessions of the National People's Congress and Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference had only just ended when the removal of Bo Xilai from his post as Chongqing Municipal Party Secretary was announced. The carefully worded official report stated that Bo had not been "dismissed" but, rather, would "no longer serve" as Party Secretary, and referred to him as "comrade." But one can say that Bo's political career is over, and it is probably just a matter of time before he is stripped of his position as Politburo member.

It was just a short while ago that Bo was a mover and shaker in the Party. But now it appears that he has been reduced to living under residential surveillance in Beijing, unable to go home to Chongqing. Bo has essentially become the first casualty of Article 73 of the new Criminal Procedure Law. One cannot help but lament this historical irony.

In Premier Wen Jiabao's speech at the March 14 press conference at the end of the Two Sessions, one sensed that he and President Hu Jintao had drawn their swords against Bo. Responding to a question on the Wang Lijun incident, Wen specifically referenced the Resolution on Certain Questions of Our Party Since the Founding of the People's Republic of China that condemned the Cultural Revolution[1] and affirmed the Reform and Opening Up Policy set during the Third Plenary Session of the CPC 11th Central Committee in 1978. This reference implied that Bo had violated the Party's guiding principles and had gone off on his own. For a senior Party cadre, this was a very serious charge.

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