News

Chongqing Residents Confront Fallen Leader's Mixed Legacy

Stephanie Ho

As investigators in Beijing continue to make their case against Bo Xilai, the disgraced politician leaves a legacy in Chongqing of tackling high-profile issues like crime and expensive housing. But some say Bo's improvements in the southwestern Chinese city merely covered up deeper problems.

As Chinese real-estate prices soared in recent years, Chongqing officials responded with a plan for 13 million square meters of low-income housing, starting in 2010 with the Minxin Jiayuan development. Hu Yuehu moved in last May and says he is happy with his rapidly built home.

"Yes, they are pretty new," said Hu.  "They started building them two years ago. It took them less than one year to build.  Over here, they are still under construction."

Neighbor Liu has some complaints: food is too expensive and transportation is inconvenient.  However, she has no complaints about Bo Xilai, whom she credits with making Chongqing safer.

"There used to be guns and rifles and killings. To tell you the truth, those things decreased after he came," Liu recalled.

"Safe Chongqing" is one of Bo's slogans plastered all over town. He set up street level policing stations, and hired more female officers and traffic cops. The focus was safer - and greener - streets. But critics say these improvements were only surface-deep. Prominent lawyer Sun Farong says there were improprieties in Bo's famous campaign against organized crime.

"For example, this has certainly happened in extracting confessions," said Sun.  "We have a lawyer colleague who was defending a female client.  When she was released from jail, she had many injuries on her body."

She also accuses Bo's government of inflating statistics.

"He has said many times that he has solved more than 700 cases, but with the statistics they give, I have doubts. They say one number today, and then say another tomorrow," Sun added.

Propaganda signs that say "Serve the People" were once common in Chongqing, but they have been disappearing since Bo was fired more than a month ago. Residents say this one has since been removed.

As evidence of Bo's public campaigns slowly fades, Chongqing locals like Minxin Jiayuan resident Liu say the famous leader's political fall has been jarring.

"I do not dare to believe it.  We have just heard that his wife killed a man. The news says it, but it might be an excuse so that they can remove him. We do not dare to be sure about that. We just play mahjong and chat," said Liu

She adds that most Chinese people know not to talk about high-level politics, and are trying to accept the government's version of the Bo controversy.

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs