Some believe that Bo Xilai and Gu were framed, as the former threatened to undermine the existing nexus between political and economic power in the current structure.
Indeed, the CCP echelons seem divided over the way the cases should be handled.
The so-called liberals in the CCP suspect that Gu and Bo Xilai might receive lenient treatment because of their lineage, both being the children of revolutionary heroes.
While the Maoists believe that Bo Xilai has been framed and Gu’s murder charge is simply a way to attack him by proxy.
According to Chinese professor Han Deqiang (韓德強), “the group of capitalist roaders [the terminology used against Mao’s enemies in the Cultural Revolution] has brought down the socialist roader,” meaning Bo Xilai.
“This means crisis and turmoil for China,” Han adds.
The attempt to posit Bo Xilai as a kind of popular hero is overdrawn. Bo Xilai and his wife were highly privileged and powerful because of the system in which they operated. Bo Xilai’s actions amounted merely to a political power grab. However, he was outmaneuvered and now he must face the consequences of challenging power in an authoritarian state.
This might not be the last word on the subject. Bo Xilai’s image, as the personification of the Maoist ideal of an equal and revolutionary society, will likely haunt the CCP, and if he is sentenced to purgatory, he might become a martyr figure as the true heir of Mao.
Sushil Seth is a commentator in Australia.