Bo Xilai

Timeline: Bo Xilai's political career

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 18 September, 2012, 7:22pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 03 October, 2012, 12:35pm

1949 - Dingxiang: early life
Born in Dingxiang County, Shanxi province, the fourth child of prominent Communist Party veteran Bo Yibo.

Bo, like his father, is jailed for five years during the Cultural Revolution.

Bo Xilai officially becomes a member of the Communist Party of China.


1981- Education in Beijing
Bo graduates from the Beijing University Department of History with a Bachelor of Arts in world history.

He begins graduate studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences and earns a Master of Arts in journalism in 1982.


1984 - Dalian bureaucrat

Bo finds work in the Liaoning provincial government becoming CCP secretary of Jin County in Jinzhou, Dalian and the Dalian Economic and Technological Development Zone.

Bo becomes director of the Publicity Department of the Dalian Municipal Party Committee. He holds this post till 1989 when he becomes executive vice-mayor of Dalian.

Bo is appointed mayor of Dalian and holds the post for eight years. He manages to turn the city into one of China’s top investment and tourism hotspots.

Bo serves as CCP secretary of Dalian until December. He gets promoted to acting governor of Liaoning Province in 2000.

Bo becomes governor of Liaoning and helps tackle the province’s unemployment and corruption problems.

Bo and the Communist Party princelings make a political comeback.

2004 - Back to Beijing

Bo gains a spot in the powerful (16th) CPC Central Committee. He becomes Minister of Commerce and moves to Beijing.


January 15
Bo Yibo, father of Bo Xilai, dies at age 98. Bo senior was the last of the “Eight Immortals” communist leaders and played an influential role in helping Deng Xiaoping carry out market reforms during the 1980s. 

Despite siding with the protestors initially, Bo Yibo eventually gave in to pressure from hardliners and supported the use of force during the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests.

Bo Xilai is appointed Communist Party secretary of Chongqing municipality and becomes member of the 25-member 17th CPC Central Committee Politburo.


2008 - Chongqing's chief

The Chongqing municipal government, led by Bo, begins its "red culture" movement. He urges locals to learn communist revolutionary songs.


A "red text messages" campaign is initiated by Bo. Quotes from Mao Zedong's Little Red Book are sent to Chongqing's 13 million mobile phone users.

Bo launches his infamous crackdown on corruption and organised crime. He executes most of the work via right-hand man and future vice-mayor of Chongqing, Wang Lijun.

The media starts to speculate that Bo will be promoted for a seat in the Politburo Standing Committee ahead of the 18th Communist Party congress in 2012.

Bo becomes world famous for his so-called “Chongqing model” of development and promoting a “red culture” movement.   His flamboyant and populist style of politics are seen as a stark contrast to conventional communist practices in China.   

November 14
British businessman and Bo family associate Neil Heywood dies in a Chongqing hotel, marking the beginning of one of China’s most controversial political scandals.


2012 - Downfall

February 6
Bo’s right-hand man Wang Lijun flees to the US consulate in Chengdu. Upon leaving, he is whisked away by government officials.

Bo makes his first comments on Wang's case in a question-and-answer session on the sidelines of the NPC meeting, saying he had picked the wrong man for the job.

March 8
Bo misses the second plenary session of the National People’s Congress (NPC).

March 15
Bo is removed as Chongqing party chief and replaced by Vice-Premier Zhang Dejiang.

April 10
Reports arise of Bo being stripped of all Communist Party posts which include membership of the Central Committee and Politburo.

July 27
Bo’s wife Gu Kailai stands trial for murder.

August 20
Gu Kailai is given a suspended death sentence for the murder of Neil Heywood.

August 31
The National People's Congress Standing Committee fails to announce stripping Bo's membership in the national legislature as was widely expected, stoking speculation that Bo may be given lenience. 

September 19
Bo is implicated for the first time in a criminal act, in a published account by state media of the trial of the ex-police chief Wang Lijun.

September 24
Ex-police chief Wang Lijun is sentenced to 15 years for defection and other crimes at a court in Chengdu.

September 28
The Communist Party announces that Bo is stripped of his Party membership and all official roles, and will be handed over to judicial authorities to face justice.