On Thursday, flamboyant, attractive, and debonair darling of the Chinese Communist Party Bo Xilai will have his day in court.
The 64 year old, former secretary of the Communist Party’s Chongqing is being charged with $4.1 million in bribery, corruption and abuse of power while holding office as former China Commerce Minister and Mayor in the northeast portion of Dalian.
The son of a vice premier, Bo was famously known as the princeling who enjoyed the flamboyant life as a powerful politician and loved being in the spotlight, a trait not usual in the Chinese political realm.
Bo’s popularity and power in the political realm gained him notoriety as the party chief in Chongqing’s southwestern China. His anti-mafia campaign to crackdown on organized crime and police corruption in Chongqing heightened his popularity with foreign nations.
Xilai called his vision “Peaceful Chongqing,” which along with the organized crime crackdown included texting Maoist slogans, demanding civil servants sing old revolutionary songs, setting up staff offices to handle citizen complaints and requiring civil servants to adopt poor families.
Having a flair for the dramatics and his independent directness, Xilai alienated his political peers, as China likes to rule quietly through back door policies. Although the crackdown on organized crime was a success, top China officials never praised Xilai for the program’s victory. However, Thursday’s trial will paint a different picture of the ex-political leader and the scandalous soap-opera circumstances surrounding his demise.
Before his rise to political stardom, Xilai married his second wife Gu Kailai, a successful businesswoman and attorney. Gu became China’s royalty with her charming, attractive, smart and wealthy demeanor, and her actions a precursor to poisoning her husband’s political stardom.
On 2011, Gu Kailai became involved in a scandal for the poisoning death of their close friend and associate Neil Heywood. Mr. Heywood, a British businessman was found dead in his hotel. The autopsy states the cause of death to be potassium cyanide found in his drink. Reportedly, his death was caused by a business arrangement gone wrong between Heywood and that of Gu Kailai. Gu had an economic interest with Heywood when a conflict disrupted between the two.
To cover up the murder, Gu enlisted the help of Wang Lijun, who was police chief heading up her husband’s crime-fighting program. In order to evade Gu’s involvement in the murder of Neil Heywood, Chief Lijun hushed up evidence of the crime. After being confronted by Gu, Chief Lijun sought out Xilai about his wife murdering Heywood, but was told to keep silent. Lijun then fled to the Consulate saying Bo covered up his wife’s crime.
Because of the scandal surrounding his wife, who in 2012 was sentenced to life in prison, Xilai was dismissed from his political position. Several days after Gu’s arrest, the murder scandal led to a corruption investigation involving her husband Bo Xilai.
Xilai has not been cooperative with the government investigation. To protest his arrogant claim that is he being treated unfairly, the fallen politician has staged hunger strikes and has refused to shave showing disrespect for China’s political system.
The trial will be an open trial stationed at Jinan Intermediate Court in Shandong. Although an open trial, reporters and general members not will be allowed in to the courtroom. Per the court’s discretion, some of the court material will be made public.
On Thursday Bo Xilai will enter into the courtroom this time not as a confident, successful, powerful politician making his way up the political ladder, but as a man who has disgraced China and broken all the values for his rise to fame.
Written by Lisa Graziano