Son of Disgraced Chinese Politician Defends Himself Against Rumors

Posted April 25th, 2012 at 9:15 am (UTC-5)
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The son of disgraced Chinese politician Bo Xilai is defending himself against accusations that his overseas education and reportedly luxurious lifestyle have been funded by family corruption.

In a statement published Tuesday in the Harvard Crimson newspaper, Bo Guagua says his tuition and living expenses at Harvard and the University of Oxford have been funded by legitimately acquired scholarships and his mother's savings.

Bo also denies media reports that he had picked up the daughter of Jon Huntsman, the former U.S. ambassador to Beijing, for a dinner date in a red Ferrari. Bo insists he has “never driven a Ferrari,” and that he has not been to the U.S. Embassy in Beijing since 1998.

Bo's father has been stripped of high Communist Party posts on charges of violating party discipline, while his mother, Gu Kailai, is being investigated in the murder of a British businessman.

In his statement, Bo Guagua makes no comments on his parents' troubles, but he says he feels compelled to address a number of rumors about his personal life.

Bo, who is currently studying at the Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government, dismisses reports that he has received poor grades, saying his “examination records have been solid” throughout his schooling years.

He says he takes part in normal social activities to broaden his perspective, in an apparent reference to pictures in Chinese blogs and Western news reports that show him attending parties with school friends.

The scandal surrounding Bo's family has become the largest of its kind in China in decades, and has threatened to disrupt Chinese politics at a time when its Communist Party is set to undergo a once-in-a-decade transfer of leadership.

Bo Xilai, was considered a rising star in Chinese politics before being stripped of all his senior posts this year. Many in China have wondered how the younger Bo could afford to attend costly foreign universities, since salaries for even senior Communist Party officials are not exorbitant.