By Orlando Crowcroft
Bo’s wife, Gu Kailai, was given a suspended death sentence after confessing to killing the Briton last month and his aide, Chongqing police chief Wang Lijun, received a 15-year prison term for initially covering up the murder and other misdeeds.
All that was left was for the party to deal with Bo, who was sacked as Chongqing party leader when his wife’s involvement in the murder of Heywood first arose.
‘Bo Xilai’s behavior resulted in serious repercussions and enormous damage to the reputation of the party and the nation, producing extremely vile effects domestically and overseas, and causing heavy damage to the cause of the party and the people,’ the statement said.
Bo is an enigmatic figure in China, famed for his crackdown on criminal gangs in Chongqing, and was tipped for a potential future leadership position in China. It is this popularity, some have suggested, that may have led to his downfall.
‘They want to drive a stake through the heart of his political career, and make it absolutely impossible, not only for him to reappear but for anyone else who has that idea of trying to create that sort of personalized, political, charismatic leadership in some part of China which may challenge the leadership,’ said Rana Mitter, professor of Chinese history and politics at Oxford University.
Others, such as those caught up in Bo’s widespread crackdown on ‘criminal elements’ in Chongqing, argue that the move is well overdue.
‘This means there is some progress in the rule of law in China. There is more transparency,’ said Li Zhuang, a formidable defense lawyer who found himself jailed in Chongqing after he accused police of extracting his client’s confession by torture.
‘Of course it is also political. In China, politics and law often go hand in hand.’
The news came as China announced that its meeting to settle the leadership transition – when current Premier Wen Jiabao and President Hu Jintao will stand down – will take place on November 8th.
This article was written by Orlando Crowcroft and originally published on metro