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 trial reveals intriguing cast of characters benefitted from ties to family
Bo family and its benefactors spread largesse across the world
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Among the most intriguing revelations to emerge from Bo Xilai’s corruption trial is the unexpected cast of characters that has apparently benefitted from the Bo clan’s wealth and power over the years.
The first three days of testimony detailed how the Bo family and their benefactors spread their largesse from Europe across to Africa and the United States – often for the benefit of Bo Xilai’s pampered son, Bo Guagua – and rewarding friends and acquaintances along the way.
Those who have benefitted from ties to the Bo clan also include classmates and associates of Bo Guagua, who studied at the exclusive Harrow School in Britain before attending Oxford University and Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government.
Bo Xilai’s wife Gu Kailai said in her written testimony that petrochemical tycoon Xu Ming had paid for the travel expenses of a 40-person delegation from the Kennedy School to Beijing and Chongqing in March 2011, when Bo was the local Communist Party boss in Chongqing.
Gu did not specify who had attended from the school. But Kennedy School spokeswoman Molly Lanzarotta told The Wall Street Journal that she was not aware of any faculty members, instructors or administrators participating in the trip.
Lanzarotta said that members of the Chinese student club had organised and raised funds for the trip independently of the school. The Kennedy School has not replied to an e-mailed request for comment from the Sunday Morning Post.
Gu also said that Xu had sometime after 2003 helped to fund a similar trip for one of Bo Guagua’s teachers and a deputy principal. However her testimony did not specify who the educators were, what institution they were affiliated with or even when exactly when the trip occurred.
Xu frequently picked up the tab for such trips, Gu said, and had paid for Bo Guagua and his friends to stay in high-end hotels and fly on a private jet during a trip to Africa in 2011. The costs for such trips added up to around 800,000 yuan (HK$1 million).
She said Xu had also once bought Bo Guagua a Segway – a self-balancing, two-wheeled electric scooter – for 85,000 yuan. The Segway was later given to an actor surnamed Zhou from the National Theatre Company of China, but has since been reclaimed by the court.