Divisions within the Communists in China again surfaced after hundreds of Leftist intellectuals wrote an open letter over the weekend questioning disgraced leader Bo Xilai’s expulsion from the party. It said the expulsion was politically motivated.
Bo, set to take up position among the Communist Party of China’s (CPC) new set of leaders to be unveiled next month, was sacked as mayor of the city of Chongqing and expelled from the Party for allegedly abusing his position, taking bribes, inappropriate sexual relations and other crimes.
The letter, written by far-left academics and former officials, comes about two weeks before the CPC begins its once-in-a decade leadership change.
When the scandal first broke in March-April, Bo had received a torrent of support from Leftists not happy with the market-driving policies followed by the CPC. Many Leftist websites were banned by the Party as a result.
Though it’s unlikely to have an impact on the change of leadership with the framework already in place, the letter – published in the Chinese website Red China -- does reveal that Bo continues to have support for his policies, which many saw as a return to the politics of Chairman Mao Zedong; The government is not expected to even react to the letter.
"What is the reason provided for expelling Bo Xilai? Please investigate the facts and the evidence," the letter said.
"Please announce to the people evidence that Bo Xilai will be able to defend himself in accordance with the law."
Li Chengrui, former director of the National Bureau of Statistics, local legislators, and members of Utopia, a leftist website blocked for months were among those who signed the letter.
The letter said there were still many doubts over the murder case of Neil Heywood – for which Bo’s wife, Gu Kailai, was charged with murder -- including how the defendants were allowed to defend themselves and the shortness of the two court cases.
"Is this not a big joke we are playing on the world when we have been telling people left, right and centre that we are a country with rule of law?"
According to Reuters, Parliament's standing committee, its top decision making body, meets for three days from Wednesday and is expected to throw Bo out of parliament, removing another hurdle for the smooth handling of a generational leadership transfer kicking off at a key party congress next month.