Bo Xilai Damaged Communist Party’s Image, Says Successor Zhang
Ousted Chongqing Communist Party Secretary Bo Xilai brought “great damage” to China and the image of the party with his disciplinary violations surrounding the death of a British businessman, Bo’s successor said today.
Chongqing’s achievements should be separated from Bo’s “serious disciplinary violations,” Zhang Dejiang, who replaced Bo as Chongqing party secretary in March, told a party congress in the city today.
“The party insists that everyone is equal in front of law, and won’t allow anyone to be above law,” Zhang said. “Officials must take the lead in compliance with the constitution and laws, and resolutely prevent and oppose any cases of abuse of power.”
Zhang’s remarks underscored the political challenge posed by Bo’s case as the country heads into a leadership transition later this year. The party is trying to distance itself from Bo and to present his actions as an aberration and not a reflection of how the senior leadership rules China.
Bo’s wife, Gu Kailai, was taken into custody for suspected involvement in Heywood’s death, the state-run Xinhua News Agency reported April 10. Bo hasn’t appeared in public since he was accused of disciplinary violations over the case at the same time.
Bo won national attention for cracking down on organized crime and for his “Chongqing Model” of emphasizing state-led investment to ease wealth gaps between urban and rural residents. At the same time, the methods he adopted spurred allegations of police brutality and abuse of the legal system.
The first public signs of trouble for Bo came in February when Chongqing’s former police chief Wang Lijun fled to the U.S. Consulate in Chengdu, 165 miles (266 kilometers) away, where he outlined to American officials a plot of money laundering, betrayal and murder involving Bo and his family, according to current and former U.S. officials briefed on the matter. After spending a night holed up in the consulate ringed by police, Wang turned himself over to central authorities, according to the officials.
Zhang said the party will deepen reform of its legal and administrative system, and support the independence of prosecutors and the court.
“The party will firmly prevent the abuse of power, favoritism, torture and other illegal acts,” Zhang said.
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