Bo Xilai Was Rising Political Star in China Before Scandal

Posted April 11th, 2012 at 2:15 am (UTC-5)
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The suspension of Bo Xilai from the top ranks of China's Communist Party has derailed the career of a “princeling” heir to a political dynasty.

Bo's father, Bo Yibo, was one of the founders of the People's Republic of China, and one of the eight leaders known as the “immortals” who steered Chinese politics away from the the legacy of Mao Zedong to the market-oriented reforms that have transformed China into an economic powerhouse.

The younger Bo joined the Communist Party in 1980 and rose rapidly through the ranks, holding posts as mayor of Dailan, governor of Liaoning province and commerce minister. In 2007, he was named leader of the southwestern city of Chongqing and ascended to membership in the 25-member Politburo.

Bo gained prominence when he and police chief Wang Lijun launched a crackdown on corruption in Chongqing, resulting in the arrests and convictions of scores of officials. His tenure was marked by strong support for state-owned enterprises, and he led a revival of Mao-era cultural themes and slogans aimed at re-instilling a socialist spirit.

Before becoming embroiled in a political scandal this year, Bo Xilai was thought to be a top candidate for elevation to China's all-powerful Politburo Standing Committee at this year's party congress, which will pick a new generation of Chinese leaders.