[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
The author argues that in the new economy, it's people, not skills or majors, that have lost value.
Colleagues of detained Al Jazeera journalists press demands for their release, 100 days after their arrest in Egypt.
Mehdi Hasan discusses online freedoms and the potential of the web with Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales.
A tight race seems likely as 814 million voters elect leaders in world's largest democracy next week.
Featured
Deadly attacks on anti-mining activists in the Philippines part of a global trend, according to new report.
Activists say 'Honor Diaries' documentary exploits gender-based violence to further an anti-Islamic agenda.
As Syria's civil war escalates along the Turkish border, many in Turkey are questioning the country's involvement.
Treatment for autism in the region has progressed, but lack of awareness and support services remains a challenge.
The past isn't far away for a people exiled from Crimea by Russia and the decades it took to get home.
join our mailing list