Bo Guagua defends father Bo Xilai as ‘upright and devoted’
The son of fallen Chinese politician Bo Xilai has defended his father as “upright in his beliefs and devoted to duty”, in his first comments on a scandal that has shaken the Communist Party.
Bo Guagua posted a statement on his Tumblr account on Saturday, a day after state media announced his father would “face justice” for a litany of alleged crimes including abuse of power, taking bribes and improper sexual relations.
Bo, who graduated from Harvard University’s Kennedy School this year, confirmed the contents of the statement in an email, the Wall Street Journal and other media reported.
“Personally, it is hard for me to believe the allegations that were announced against my father, because they contradict everything I have come to know about him throughout my life,” the statement said.
“Although the policies my father enacted are open to debate, the father I know is upright in his beliefs and devoted to duty,” he said.
“He has always taught me to be my own person and to have concern for causes greater than ourselves.”
Bo, whose mother Gu Kailai was in August found guilty of the murder of a British businessman and given a death sentence commuted to life in prison, said he expected the legal process to “follow its normal course”.
“I will await the result,” he said.
Bo Guagua has come under intense scrutiny since his father and mother became implicated in a murder and corruption saga which has become the biggest political scandal to hit China in decades.
His partying and allegedly extravagant lifestyle have triggered criticism in a country where the rich-poor divide is widening and anger over corruption and perceived impunity among leaders and their children is on the rise.
State media said on Friday that Bo Xilai had been expelled from the Communist Party, in an unprecedented public rebuke as authorities look to close the damaging episode.
It also announced that a key party congress which will enact a one-in-a-decade leadership transition will be held on November 8.
Both Bo’s fate and the date of the congress had been the subject of intense speculation over whether the scandal would unsettle the highly choreographed leadership change.
As the former party boss of the southwestern metropolis of Chongqing, Bo had once been seen a top candidate for promotion to the party’s highest echelons of power.
His stunning fall from grace began earlier this year after his former key aide and Chongqing police chief Wang Lijun turned against him with dramatic allegations that Gu Kailai poisoned 41-year-old Neil Heywood with cyanide.
State media described Gu during her trial as attributing her actions to a “mental breakdown” after she learned that Bo Guagua had been threatened by the businessman after a deal went sour.
Before his mother’s trial began, Bo Guagua said that as he was cited as a motivating factor for the crimes, he had submitted a witness statement to her defence team.
“I have faith that facts will speak for themselves,” he said at the time of the trial, in an e-mail to cable television network CNN.
Analysts say that the apparent decision to come down hard on Bo Xilai is aimed at killing any residual support he may have as the Chinese leadership demands complete allegiance to the party.
Bo’s populist style of leadership included a nostalgic revival of Mao-era “red culture” that, along with a high-profile crackdown on organised crime in Chongqing, had wide popular appeal.
But his initiatives irritated some in the Communist Party and his political style violated a code against open ambition -- a lesson learned from the divisive and disastrous political campaigns of Communist founder Mao Zedong.
No date has been set for any legal proceedings against Bo.