China’s Communist Party Removes Politician From Top Ranks

Posted April 10th, 2012 at 1:25 pm (UTC-5)
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China's Communist Party has suspended charismatic politician Bo Xilai from its top ranks, in the latest development in a political scandal involving him and his family.

Chinese state media reported late Tuesday that Bo was suspended from the party's 25-member Politburo and its 300-member Central Committee, on suspicion of “serious disciplinary violations.”

This is the first time a sitting Politburo member has been removed since 2007, when Shanghai Communist Party chief Chen Liangyu was replaced.

The official Xinhua news agency also said Bo's wife, Gu Kailai, is under investigation in the suspected murder of British businessman Neil Heywood, who was close to Bo's family.

Last month, Bo was removed from his post as Communist Party leader of the southwestern city of Chongqing, after his longtime police chief, Wang Lijun, fled to a U.S. Consulate reportedly to seek asylum.

Bo was once considered a contender for a leadership post in the all-powerful Politburo Standing Committee.

Bo, a son of one of the founders of the communist China, gained prominence when he and police chief Wang launched a crackdown on corruption in Chongqing, a city of 30-million people. The move led to the arrests and convictions of many. Bo also began a so-called revival of “red” cultural themes and slogans from the era of Chairman Mao Zedong.