[QODLink]
Asia-Pacific
Aspiring Chinese party leader sacked
Bo Xilai, charismatic but controversial chief of Chongqing metropolis, removed after police scandal.
Last Modified: 15 Mar 2012 18:22
Al Jazeera's Melissa Chan reports from Beijing 

Bo Xilai, a high-profile contender for the top leadership of China, has been removed from his post as the Communist Party leader of a major southwestern city, potentially ending the rise of a prominent conservative voice in the country.

Vice Premier Zhang Dejiang will replace Bo as the party chief in Chongqing and will also keep his vice premier portfolio, state news agency Xinhua said in a brief report on Thursday.

Initial reports did not say if Bo would retain his seat in the party's 25-member Politburo.

Bo was criticised by Wen Jiabao, the prime minister, in a press conference on Wednesday over a February 6 incident in which Chongqing's police chief, Wang Lijun, briefly sought refuge in a US consulate. Chinese media speculated that Wang, who also held the position of vice mayor, had evidence of corruption and was seeking political asylum.

Wang was placed under investigation after being persuaded to leave the consulate.

Bo, 62, is considered a conservative and has tried to push the boundaries of populism in China, where many leading politicians are cautious pragmatists who climbed the ranks of the party bureaucracy. He is now reportedly held in Beijing while being investigated for unspecified reasons.

"One thing that we have to undertsand in Chinese politics is that there is a strong belief in collective ladership, so behind closed doors they may try to reach some sort of compromise and move forward from there," said Al Jazeera's Melissa Chan, reporting from Beijing. "This whole process is very opaque."

Before the recent scandal, Bo had been tipped to break into the Politburo's all-powerful, nine-member Standing Committee after the party congress in November.

Chan said Bo's sacking would probably prompt jostling as new contenders considered trying to get a seat on the committee. It comes before a major leadership transition in China's ruling party later this year following weeks of intense speculation about his future.

As the Chongqing party secretary since 2007, Bo oversaw a much-praised but controversial campaign against organised crime and official corruption.

He is known as a "princeling" son of Bo Yibo, one of the party's "eight immortals" from the late 1970s.

Source:
Al Jazeera and agencies
Topics in this article
People
Country
City
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
Italy struggles to deal with growing flood of migrants willing to risk their lives to reach the nearest European shores.
Israel's Operation Protective Edge is the third major offensive on the Gaza Strip in six years.
Muslims and Arabs in the US say they face discrimination in many areas of life, 13 years after the 9/11 attacks.
At one UN site alone, approximately four children below the age of five are dying each day.
Featured
More than fifty years of an armed struggle for independence from Spain might be coming to an end in the Basque Country.
After the shooting-down of flight MH17, relatives ask what the carrier has learned from still-missing MH370.
Human rights and corporate responsibility prompt a US church to divest from companies doing business with Israel.
Afghan militias have accumulated a lengthy record of human-rights abuses, including murders and rapes.
Growing poverty is strengthening a trend among UK Muslims to fund charitable work closer to home.
join our mailing list