Bo keen to prove his loyalty
Chongqing Communist Party chief Bo Xilai has held a second municipal party meeting in two weeks to underscore the importance of upholding Beijing's policies, in a sign the embattled party boss might have waded through the recent political storm that hit the southwestern municipality.
The latest meeting was on Friday, when Bo said Chongqing should stick to a development strategy revealed by President Hu Jintao in 2007 that outlines economic tasks that Chongqing should undertake.
Bo also said at the meeting that Chongqing would further promote 'scientific development' - Hu's pet theory - and 'not disappoint the central government'.
On February 12, Bo held a party meeting that focused on advancing 'scientific development'. Both meetings were covered prominently by local media. Neither of the two meetings featured a word about the municipality's crackdown on organised crime, nor did they promote revolutionary songs - two of Bo's signature campaigns that help define the so-called Chongqing model.
Bo had widely been believed to be a strong contender for a spot in the Politburo Standing Committee at the party congress this autumn. But the detention this month of Chongqing Vice-Mayor Wang Lijun, formerly the municipality's police chief and Bo's right-hand man, has been seen as a setback to his prospects.
Holding the two meetings so close together, some analysts say, is a sign Bo is trying to show his allegiance to Hu by highlighting ideologies coined by him.
Professor Zhang Ming, who teaches political science at Beijing's Renmin University, said: 'He wants to show his political correctness and is hoping Hu can protect him.'
Zhang said Bo's public appearances indicated Beijing may have already forgiven him. Bo, considered a 'princeling' because his father was a revolutionary veteran, 'is unlikely to be punished harshly by Communist Party leaders', Zhang added.
Johnny Lau Yui-siu, a Hong Kong-based China-watcher, agreed.
'Bo may not be able to hold a spot at the Politburo Standing Committee but his political life will continue unless he encounters a serious conflict with higher officials,' he said.
'Chinese political struggles are all about compromise.'
Since disappearing from the public eye in the days following Wang's detainment by party disciplinary officials on February 8, Bo has recently made several public appearances. On February 19 he met a visiting Vietnamese Communist Party official in Chongqing; recited a Chinese literary classic, Love of the Lotus Flower; and stressed the importance of party cadres staying clean, even in a corrupt environment. Two days later, China Central Television showed Bo at a Politburo meeting chaired by Hu. And Bo made a high-profile appearance last week, meeting a delegation led by former Macau chief executive Edmund Ho Hau-wah. Bo was also seen receiving Foxconn founder Terry Gou at a function on Friday.