Many China watchers were stunned by the announcement of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee on March 15 that prominent Party leader Bo Xilai had been removed from his post. For the past several years, Bo Xilai was a rising star in Communist China’s firmament. Many western observers have speculated that he would one day be China’s “paramount leader.”
As Party Secretary governing Chongqing (formerly Chungking), a sprawling megalopolis of 30 million people, Bo appeared to be on the way up. He was a member of the national 24-member governing Politburo and was expected by many to be appointed to the all-powerful nine-member Standing Committee of the Politburo. It is very unlikely, to say the least, that that will happen now.
No official explanations have been given for the abrupt purging. China’s official news agency Xinuanet provided this bare-bones announcement of Bo Xilai’s removal and replacement:
Zhang Dejiang has been appointed Party chief of Chongqing, replacing Bo Xilai, according to a decision of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee announced Thursday. Bo will no longer serve as secretary, standing committee member or member of the CPC Chongqing municipal committee.
The decision was announced by Li Yuanchao, head of the Organization Department of the CPC Central Committee, at a meeting of officials in Chongqing on Thursday, according to a report on xinhuanet.com. Li said the CPC Central Committee made the decision after discreet consideration and based on current circumstances and the overall situation.
Unlike the typical stiff, stolid Communist Party leader, Bo is known for his casual, western style of political showmanship.
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Photo of Bo Xilai: AP Images