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.
New Bo Guagua photo sparks debate over fate of princeling's son
China’s online community seems even more divided over the fate of Bo Guagua after the son of the disgraced former Politburo member Bo Xilai was pictured partying with friends in a New York cafe with a smile on his face - days after his father’s dramatic trial ended in Shandong.
In a photo that surfaced first on Twitter and was later re-posted on Weibo, Bo Guagua, 25, was seen sipping a drink while chatting with friends. The photo was taken at Boat Basin Cafe on 79th street in New York City where Bo’s attending graduate school at Columbia University, according to reports.
The son’s cheerful manner annoyed some of China’s online users. Many had recently watched the dramatic trial of Bo Xilai, who had allegedly told the court he missed both his sons a great deal.
“Will they ever go after all the bribe money he spent?” wrote one microblogger, “And how could he possibly be so happy after what happened to his family?”
Bo Guagua’s mother, Gu Kailai, is serving a suspended death sentence for murder and his father is waiting for what will almost certainly be a guilty verdict.
“He didn’t murder anyone, and he’s entitled to his own life,” others retorted. “To live a happy life is his best revenge against his enemies.”
The photo has not just fuelled discussion on social media, but managed to elicit a response from the Beijing Evening News. The Communist Party mouthpiece said in a Monday commentary that China should bring back Bo Guagua so “justice could be served,” - ''no matter what kind of agreement had been reached before Bo Xilai’s trial”.
“Bo Guagua, who used to be a role model for teenagers is believed to be the major reason that led Bo Xilai and his wife to corruption,” argued the commentary.
Evidence presented at court during Bo Xilai’s trial portrayed Bo Guagua as a pampered playboy, who benefited from his mother's ill-gotten money. Many believe this has made it even harder for him to return home.