Bo Xilai

Chinese Communist "princeling" Bo Xilai, expected by many to take a key leadership position in the leadership transition of 2012, was expelled from the Communist Party in September after a career that saw him as Mayor of Dalian City, Minister of Commerce and Party Chief of the Chongqing municipality. His wife Gu Kailai received a suspended death sentence in August 2012 for murdering British business partner Neil Heywood. 

Bo Xilai steps up high-profile events

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 26 February, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 26 February, 2012, 12:00am
 

After treating former Macau chief executive Edmund Ho Hau-wah to a rousing 'red song' concert on Thursday, embattled Chongqing party chief Bo Xilai followed up with another high-profile appearance on Friday, this time alongside Foxconn founder Terry Gou.

The front page of yesterday's Chongqing Daily featured a photograph of Bo, Gou and several other officials, including city mayor Huang Qifan , at the signing of a memorandum of co-operation between the city government and the Foxconn company to set up a research and development centre in the municipality.

The group shot was accompanied by a report detailing Bo's account of his achievements in the city in the three years since he and Gou first met.

'Making the right choice decides the future of an enterprise. Chongqing is ... going along a path of rational and healthy development after years of effort,' the report quoted Bo as saying.

'Foxconn should achieve greater development in the future because [it] made a smart decision to co-operate with Chongqing at this moment,' the report said.

On Friday, the Chongqing Daily's front page carried two group shots of Bo's meeting with Ho, a vice-chairman of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, and the Macau tycoons who were with him on the trip.

It's rare for the newspaper to have coverage of Bo's public appearances the day after they take place. Local journalists said that Bo personally vetted all reports about his activities and that the reports were usually published on the second day after the event.

Political observers said the frequency and speed of the Chongqing Daily reports on Bo could be designed to tell the world that he would survive, despite the dramatic downfall of his right-hand man Wang Lijun .

Wang, 52, the city's former police chief, is believed to be under investigation by the party's discipline watchdog following a mysterious visit to the United States consulate in Chengdu, Sichuan province, on February 6, during which he was rumoured to have sought political asylum.

Since Bo is keen on seeking a seat in the all-powerful Politburo Standing Committee in a leadership reshuffle this autumn, the detention of Wang has been seen as a significant setback to Bo's prospects of promotion.

Beijing-based political analyst Chen Ziming said Bo's appearance indicated that the central leadership had still not decided on Bo's political future.

'I believe top leaders in Beijing are going to let China's leader-in-waiting, Xi Jinping , decide Bo's fate,' Chen said.

13

The number of factories Foxconn has in nine cities on the mainland. The largest plant is at Longhua, Shenzhen, known as iPod City

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