China purges top figure, arrests wife
China’s former Chongqing Municipality Communist Party leader Bo Xilai (R) talks to Mao Xinyu, grandson of the late Chairman Mao Zedong in this 2007 photo. REUTERS PhotoChina’s biggest political crisis in decades took a dramatic turn with the removal of one of the Communist Party’s biggest stars from his post and his wife’s arrest on suspicion of murder.
Bo Xilai, the charismatic former party leader of Chongqing city, had been tipped for the very highest echelons of power in China until he was sacked from the post last month before being suspended from the Politburo on April 10.
The announcement that he had been removed from the powerful 25-member Politburo was followed by the shock revelation that his wife was being investigated over the murder of British businessman Neil Heywood.
Gu Kailai and Zhang Xiaojun, a medical orderly at Bo’s home, fell out with Heywood over “economic interests,” the state news agency Xinhua reported. Both are now under investigation for murder, while Bo Xilai is suspected of being involved in “serious discipline violations,” Xinhua said, according to Agence France-Presse. In China, that usually refers to corruption. Analysts say the rare, public scandal has exposed deep rifts within the ruling party ahead of a once-in-a-decade leadership transition due to take place later this year.