Who is Bo Xilai?
· 1993– 2000: Mayor of Dalian, Liaoning Province (Government Position)
· 2001– 2004: Governor of Liaoning Province (Government Position)
· 2004– 2007: Commerce Minister and CCP Commerce Secretary (Government and Party Positions)
· 2007–2012: CCP Secretary of Chongqing Municipality (Party position)
· 2007–2012: Member of the CCP Politburo (Party position)
(Note: Updated October 9, 2012 during a time of great change for Bo’s career)
Bo Xilai once stood out among CCP leaders for his outspokenness, telegenic looks, and populist campaigns. He now also stands out for his spectacular political downfall.
Until February 2012, many thought Bo Xilai’s political career would have an upward trajectory.
Bo was kicked out of the CCP on September 28, 2012, and will likely stand criminal trial. (Check back soon for updated info.)
Bo Xilai’s political career began in a big way when he was mayor of Dalian in Liaoning province. There, he drove economic growth and attracted foreign investment.
In 1999, seeking to curry favor with then-CCP leader Jiang Zemin, Bo helped Jiang in persecuting Falun Gong (Falun Dafa) practitioners. In 2000, Bo was made acting governor, and in 2001 permanent governor, of Liaoning province. Bo expanded several labor camps, including Masanjia—the most notorious in all of China for torture and brutality of Falun Gong practitioners.
In 2004, Bo was promoted to become China’s Commerce Minister. At the time, it was considered likely that he would be further promoted to the Politburo Standing Committee.
But during Bo’s global travels, he was sued in more than 10 countries by Falun Gong practitioners—on charges like torture and genocide. In 2007, Premier Wen Jiabao—who did not like Bo for various reasons—used it as an excuse to force Bo out, demoting him to Chongqing Party Secretary.
In Chongqing, Bo sought to make a political comeback with his “beat the black” (打黑) campaign. That campaign was supposedly to crack down on organized crime, but Bo also used it to take down his political rivals. Through this process, he amassed great wealth and made powerful enemies.
Bo Xilai’s wife is Gu Kailai, who was convicted of killing British businessman and fixer Neil Heywood. More info in this video: Neil Heywood and Bo Xilai: What Everyone Missed.
Bo Xilai and Gu Kailai have a son named Bo Guagua, who is currently living in the United States. Bo also has another son, Li Wangzhi, from his first marriage.
Bo’s behavior in Chongqing even alienated leaders in his own faction, leading eventually to his downfall.