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

Video Indiana Controversy Points to Divergent Notions of Religious Freedom

Gay-marriage opponents are looking for ways to maintain their beliefs in face of changing culture, one writer says More

UNICEF Denies North Korean Measles Outbreak

Agency dismisses Russian media report after government, WHO assurances More

Turkey Seen Taking Harder Stance Against Militant Kurds

Stance comes as President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is being seen as moving closer to generals 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.
Indiana Controversy Highlights Divergent Meanings of Religious Freedomi
X
Jerome Socolovsky
April 01, 2015 1:41 AM
Indiana’s state government has triggered a nationwide controversy by approving a law that critics say is aimed at allowing discrimination against gays and lesbians. The controversy stems from divergent notions of religious freedom in America. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Indiana Controversy Highlights Divergent Meanings of Religious Freedom

Indiana’s state government has triggered a nationwide controversy by approving a law that critics say is aimed at allowing discrimination against gays and lesbians. The controversy stems from divergent notions of religious freedom in America. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Nigerians Welcome Buhari's Return to Power

Crowds of jubilant Nigerians nationwide have celebrated the return to power of former military ruler Muhammadu Buhari. The retired army general won this year's presidential election with more than 2 million votes more than incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan. Buhari's supporters hope he can strengthen the country's economy and security once he takes office in late May. Zlatica Hoke has this story.
Video

Video Report: State of Black America a 'Tale of Two Nations'

The National Urban League has described this year's "State of Black America" report as a "tale of two nations." The group's annual report, released earlier this month (March), found that under an equality index African Americans had only 72% parity compared to whites in areas such as education, economics, health, social justice and civic engagement. It’s a gap that educators and students at Brooklyn’s Medgar Evers College are looking to close. VOA's Daniela Schrier reports from the school.
Video

Video Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadists

At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video Gamma Ray Observatory to Open Soon in Mexico

American and Mexican scientists have completed construction of the world's largest gamma ray observatory, situated high in central Mexico’s Sierra Negra Mountain. The observatory's huge array of water-based detectors will soon start discovering secrets about black holes and supernovas. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials Underway in West Africa

Ebola has claimed the lives of more than 10,000 people in West Africa. Since last summer, researchers have rushed to get anti-Ebola vaccines into clinical trials. While it's too early to say that any of the potential vaccines work, some scientists say they are seeing strong results from some of the studies. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Tourism is a multi-billion dollar industry in the Philippines. Close to five million foreign visitors traveled there last year, perhaps lured by the country’s tropical beaches. But Jason Strother reports from Manila that the country hopes to entice more travelers to stay indoors and spend money inside new casinos.
Video

Video Civilian Casualties Push Men to Join Rebels in Ukraine

The continued fighting in eastern Ukraine and the shelling of civilian neighborhoods seem to be pushing more men to join the separatist fighters. Many of the new recruits are residents of Ukraine made bitter by new grievances, as well as old. VOA's Patrick Wells reports.
Video

Video Islamic State Prisoners Talk of Curiosity, God, Regret

Islamic State fighter, a prisoner of Kurdish YPG forces, asked his family asking for forgiveness: "I destroyed myself and I destroyed them along with me." The Syrian youth was one of two detainees who spoke to VOA’s Kurdish Service about the path they chose; their names have been changed and identifying details obscured. VOA's Zana Omer reports.
Video

Video Germanwings Findings Raise Issue of Psychological Testing for Pilots

More is being discovered about the co-pilot in the crash of Germanwings Flight 9525 in the French Alps. Investigators say he was hiding a medical condition, raising questions about the mental qualifications of pilots. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.

VOA Blogs

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More