Three months after flamboyant Bo Xilai was sacked as the Communist party secretary of Chongqing, the incident continues to cast its shadow on the ruling Communist Party of China (CPC).
On Monday, new chief Zhang Deijang, who replaced Bo, told city officials that the scandal — including the arrest of Bo’s wife on murder charges — had seriously damaged the reputation of the country and the CPC.
“Meanwhile, we must note that the Wang Lijun incident, the death of Neil Heywood and the serious disciplinary violations of comrade Bo Xilai have greatly tarnished the image of the Party and the nation and have had a grave impact on Chongqing’s reform and development, Zhang said at the city’s municipal congress, a build-up to the CPC congress to take place later this year.
The meeting was held to draw up a five-year plan for the municipality after the ouster of Bo.
The trail of the scandal began when Chongqing police chief and city vice-mayor Wang Lijun went to the US consulate in Chengdu city, apparently fearing for his life, in February.
Bo’s wife, Bo-Gu Kailai, and Zhang Xiaojun, an orderly at their home, were subsequently arrested and transferred to the judicial authorities on suspicion of murdering British citizen Neil Heywood in Chongqing in November 2011; it apparently emerged that Wang wanted to investigate Bo-Gu Kailai’s role in Heywood’s mother and fell afoul of Bo family.
The party’s retribution on Bo and his family was swift; neither Bo nor his wife have been seen or heard since the scandal broke.
“We must strictly separate Chongqing's achievements over the past five years and the painstaking efforts of local officials and residents from the three cases. On the other hand, we must sincerely draw lessons from those cases and earnestly improve our work,” Zhang said.
“We will endeavor to deepen reform and open up and comprehensively push for economic, political, cultural, social construction and party construction,” Zhang told the congress.
Monday marked the 15th anniversary of Chongqing’s founding as a municipality under the central government.