Bo is a no-show at NPC session on criminal law
Chongqing municipal party secretary Bo Xilai was conspicuously absent from yesterday's second plenary session of the National People's Congress.
All of the 25 Politburo members except Bo attended the meeting to review a draft amendment to the Criminal Procedural Law, and no seat was reserved for him on the stage. The reason for his absence was not immediately clear.
While Bo's absence in plenary session in the morning sparked speculation, he was later seen chairing an afternoon panel discussion of the Chongqing delegation in the main news broadcast on CCTV last night. The event was attended by Zhou Yongkang, the Politburo Standing Committee member in charge of law and order.
Bo came under the spotlight ahead of the annual sessions of the NPC and the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, after the reported defection attempt on February 6 of Wang Lijun, a former Chongqing police chief once considered Bo's right-hand man.
Bo appeared during the opening ceremony of the NPC on Monday, when he again touted his 'Chongqing model' during a group discussion with his local delegation.
The future of Bo's political career is a hot topic amid this year's NPC session.
The Chongqing government broke its silence this week on the Wang scandal, saying that Mayor Huang Qifan spoke with Wang at the US consulate in Chengdu, Sichuan, on February 6. Huang also told Hong Kong-based Phoenix Television that Wang was being investigated by the Ministry of State Security.