1 October 2012

A large percentage of the Chinese population was on the move over the weekend as city workers travelled to their rural homes for this week’s National Day holiday. Someone who won’t be going anywhere is Bo Xilai the former head of the Communist Party in Chongqing.  On Friday when the Xinhua news agency announced that the Party Congress will meet from 8 November, the news was also released that Bo had been expelled from the party.

The Annual Party Congress for several years has had a keynote speech about the importance of fighting corruption, and punishing officials who abuse their positions.  This year the Congress will see the change of party leadership which occurs every ten years.  The announcements are a signal that Bo, “… ‘princeling’ son of a revolutionary leader…” is no longer a player among the party power brokers and that the Premier will not be restricted in a speech condemning corruption by “unfinished business” regarding Bo, who has been in the news for much of the last year.

The statement about Bo is that he had “…seriously violated discipline throughout his career, including abuses related to a murder case involving his wife, taking vast quantities of bribe money and having or maintaining inappropriate sexual relations with multiple women….”

The report made no comment about how someone who had been a very senior party official could have been seriously violating discipline “throughout his career”.  Which perhaps says something about the willingness of the Ministry for Supervision, which is responsible for maintaining standards in government, to challenge senior party members.

The editor in chief of China Business News commenting on the issue said “… Don’t investigate and everything looks heroic. Investigate and everything looks criminal. To investigate or not investigate, that is the question…”

“Corruption … is an increasing problem in China as numerous government officials …have been photographed wearing expensive luxury items over the past year. A recent case is that of … head of Shaanxi Province’s Safety Supervision Bureau, who was sacked last week after photographs of him wearing five different luxury wristwatches on different occasions, including a Vacheron Constantin model worth up to 400,000 yuan ($63,400), surfaced on Sina Weibo”.