News / Asia

China's Xi Asserts Authority Over Party With Bo Verdict

Chinese President Xi Jinping inspects an honor guard with Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro (L) at a welcoming ceremony outside the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, Sept. 22, 2013.
Chinese President Xi Jinping inspects an honor guard with Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro (L) at a welcoming ceremony outside the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, Sept. 22, 2013.
Reuters
— With ousted senior politician Bo Xilai jailed for life, Chinese President Xi Jinping has stamped his authority on the Communist Party by effectively warning he will not tolerate dissent as he seeks to push through tough economic reforms.

Bo was sentenced on Sunday after being found guilty on charges of corruption, taking bribes and abuse of power. Since all courts are controlled by the party the verdict was likely pre-ordained although a source with direct knowledge of the case told Reuters on Monday that Bo had filed an appeal.

“It's [like] killing one to warn a hundred,” a source with ties to the leadership told Reuters.

The ideological fractures exposed last year by Bo's fall from grace had hobbled Xi, forcing him to row back on an ambitious plan to rebalance the world's second largest economy, sources close to China's leadership have told Reuters.

The party's fear had been that Bo's supporters, who lauded him for the old-school leftist social welfare policies he championed as boss of the city of Chongqing, could remain a brake on reforms that favor private businesses and a greater reliance on market forces.

Xi needed the Bo affair settled because the next few weeks are critical for his government, which took office in March.

At a closed-door party plenum in November, Xi will push for more economic reforms and he needs unstinting support from the party's elite 200-member Central Committee.

The reforms Xi wants include opening up the banking sector to let in private players and enact interest rate reform, and introducing more competition in key industries dominated by state-owned giants, such as in the energy and telecommunications sectors, sources say.

Leftists are deeply suspicious of private enterprise and market reforms, believing they have led to the income inequality and the anything-goes economic growth that China grapples with today.

“For other senior officials, I think this is intimidating because the plenum is coming up,” said Zhang Lifan, a Beijing-based political commentator and historian.

Bo's wife also in jail

Bo had been expected to rise to the top of the party until his career unraveled last year following a murder scandal in which his wife, Gu Kailai, was convicted of poisoning a British businessman, Neil Heywood, who had been a family friend. She was given a suspended death sentence.

After his appointment as Chongqing party boss in 2007, the charismatic Bo, a “princeling” son of a late vice premier, turned the southwestern metropolis into a showcase of Mao-inspired “red” culture, as well as state-led economic growth. The leftists in the party flocked to his side.

Xi has been mindful of Bo's constituency and courted neo-leftists ahead of the trial - at the expense of reform-minded liberals.

Shortly before the trial, Xi paid his respects at a villa once used by Mao Zedong, and then gave a widely publicized speech calling Marxism a “must-study subject” for party members.

Xi, in a sense, already has sought to assume Bo's mantle as the hero of the left.

“Ideologically speaking, Xi's shift to the left has been quite dramatic,” said Li Weidong, a writer and former editor who has followed Bo's case closely. “Bo has been kicked to the side but his policies have remained.”

That is a path that may not be sustainable, Li added.

“It will create an effect of left-wing politics but right-wing economics, which will become a problem long-term.”

Still, Bo's verdict is unlikely to be a real deterrent to the rampant corruption Xi has sought to tackle, despite the party and state media playing up the angle that all are equal before the law.

“This case had little to do with corruption. It's a political case,” said Zhang Ming, a professor at Renmin University in Beijing.

You May Like

Reports of Mass Murder on Mediterranean Smuggler’s Boat

Boat sailed from Libya with 750 migrants aboard and arrived in Italy with 569 More

Video New Thailand Hotline Targets Misbehaving Monks

Officials say move aims to restore country’s image of Buddhism, tarnished by recent high profile scandals such as opulent lifestyle, drug and alcohol abuse, as well as child sex abuse More

Study: Dust from Sahara Helped Form Bahama Islands

What does the Sahara have in common with a Caribbean island? Quite a lot, researchers say More

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.
Astronauts Train in Underwater Labi
X
George Putic
July 25, 2014 7:25 PM
In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

AppleAndroid