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 slated by party media
The expulsion of Bo Xilai from the party shows that the tactics he used to run Chongqing, steeped in the ideology of the Cultural Revolution, were ultimately doomed, a party newspaper said.
The rare, harshly worded editorial by Guangming Daily, a more liberal newspaper for intellectuals run directly by the Central Committee of the Communist Party, ignored the usual rhetoric about the party's resolution to fight corruption.
Instead it referred to Bo as an "extremely filthy man" and launched a personal attack on his political agenda. It criticised him for trying to advance his own political career by recreating the "stale political model that brought China unparalleled disaster" even though Bo himself was a victim of the Cultural Revolution.
Bo's father Bo Yibo, one of the founding fathers of republic, was persecuted during the Cultural Revolution and Bo himself spent five years in jail during the turbulent era.
Bo had failed to draw lessons from the Cultural Revolution and instead used its ideology and tactics to persecute others and harm society, the paper said, blaming "unrestricted power" for his rise and downfall.
"Bo ruled Chongqing with an iron hand and only those who followed him would prosper and those who didn't would die," the newspaper said.
"He encouraged songs and articles praising him, but those that were even just a bit unflattering would be fiercely attacked by Bo, whose power was unrestricted."
The editorial echoed the harsh words of Premier Wen Jiabao during his annual press conference in March, at which he voiced his disapproval of Bo's "red culture" campaign and attacked the resurgence of Maoist leftists.
Mainland media yesterday splashed on the announcement of Bo's prosecution, but all the reports followed Xinhua's official copy, even the editorials, which used the case as another opportunity to trumpet the party's determination to safeguard the rule of law.
"[Bo Xilai] monopolised power, acted on his own without regard to party discipline and seriously violated it.
"He invited severe punishment and he deserved it," a signed editorial by Xinhua's affiliated news portal said.
"It demonstrated the party's distinct position and determination that no matter how senior or influential you are, you will be severely punished if you violate party code and law."
Meanwhile, commentators on the internet had a field day poking fun at the conservatives.