China's Chongqing mayor says has banished Bo Xilai's influence

BEIJING Sat Jan 26, 2013 2:52pm IST

China's former Chongqing Municipality Communist Party Secretary Bo Xilai attends a session of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) of the Chongqing Municipal Committee, in Chongqing municipality, January 26, 2008. REUTERS/Stringer

China's former Chongqing Municipality Communist Party Secretary Bo Xilai attends a session of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) of the Chongqing Municipal Committee, in Chongqing municipality, January 26, 2008.

Credit: Reuters/Stringer

Related Topics

BEIJING (Reuters) - The mayor of the scandal-plagued southwestern Chinese metropolis of Chongqing said on Saturday that local authorities had banished the malign influence of the city's former top official Bo Xilai, and vowed never to never allow a repeat of his crimes.

Once a contender for China's top leadership, Bo was ousted in the biggest political scandal in two decades last year following his wife's murder of a British businessman, Neil Heywood.

A former commerce minister, Bo turned sprawling, haze-covered Chongqing into a showcase for his mix of populist policies and bold spending plans that won support from leftists yearning for a charismatic leader. Other Communist Party leaders vieweed him as an attention-seeking loose cannon.

Bo, 63, was widely seen as pursuing a powerful spot on the party's elite inner core before his career unravelled after his former police chief, Wang Lijun, fled to a U.S. consulate for more than 24 hours in February and alleged that Bo's wife, Gu Kailai, had murdered Heywood with poison.

Speaking at the opening session of the city's largely rubber stamp legislature, Chongqing mayor Huang Qifan, who had served with Bo when Bo was the city's party boss, described the past year's events as "extraordinary".

"Against such an exceptional backdrop and complex circumstances, we resolutely followed the decisions of the party ... and worked hard to banish the serious impact of the Bo Xilai and Wang Lijun cases," Huang said, according to a transcript of his speech carried by Chinese news websites.

The experience of the past five years showed that only by following the party's leadership could Chongqing enjoy real success, both economically and socially, he added.

"Otherwise, our work will be seriously harmed," Huang said.

Formal charges against Bo have yet to be made public, but speculation is growing that his trial could come very soon.

A Beijing-backed Hong Kong newspaper reported on Friday that the trial would open on Monday in the southern city of Guiyang, though court officials have dismissed that possibility and neither the government nor his lawyers have confirmed it.

Both Wang and Gu have been jailed and Bo expelled from the party, accused of corruption and of bending the law to hush up the killing.

Bo arrived in Chongqing as its party chief in 2007 and recast it as a bold, egalitarian alternative mode of growth for China known as the "Chongqing model", pumping money into social housing schemes and infrastructure such as a sleek new subway.

The government has since sought to distance itself from Bo's achievements -- with the city's then acting party chief saying late last year there was no such thing as the "Chongqing model".

"VANITY PROJECTS"

Huang stuck to the same line.

Chongqing must never allow "vanity projects" that "tire the people and drain money", or other projects enacted solely for political purposes, he said, a clear reference to Bo's often grandiose plans for the city and which won him popular support.

Bo's case has overshadowed a tricky leadership transition in a country grappling with surging public anger at corruption.

Xi Jinping, who will become president in March, has mounted a spirited campaign against graft, especially in high places, since becoming national party chief in November, something Huang also echoed.

"We must strictly define authority in accordance with the law and ... never allow any group or individual to have special rights which exceed the constitution or the law," Huang said. (Editing by Ron Popeski)

FILED UNDER:
Comments (0)
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.

  • Most Popular
  • Most Shared

Ebola Outbreak

REUTERS SHOWCASE

Islamic State

Islamic State

Iraqi security forces and Kurds gain ground against Islamic State  Full Article 

Brazil Votes

Brazil Votes

Brazil votes in tight presidential runoff split along class lines  Full Article 

School Shooting

School Shooting

Washington state teen shooter's family living in 'nightmare'   Full Article 

Canada Attacks

Canada Attacks

Canadians flock to Parliament Hill, site of attack on soldier  Full Article 

Abe's Ratings

Abe's Ratings

Japanese PM Abe's public support slumps in wake of resignations - poll  Full Article 

New World Record

New World Record

Google executive sets new stratosphere skydive world record  Full Article 

Bollywood World

Bollywood World

Read stories and reviews Bollywood films.  Full Coverage 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device.  Full Coverage