Tue, Oct 02, 2012 - Page 6 News List

Son of China’s disgraced Bo Xilai defends his father

Reuters, BOSTON

The Harvard-educated son of disgraced former Chongqing party boss Bo Xilai (薄熙來) defended his father against charges of taking bribes and having improper sexual relationships, saying he believed in his father’s good character.

“Personally, it is hard for me to believe the allegations that were announced against my father, because they contradict everything I have come to know about him throughout my life,” Bo Guagua (薄瓜瓜) said in a statement posted on the microblog site Tumblr.

“Although the policies my father enacted are open to debate, the father I know is upright in his beliefs and devoted to duty,” he added.

Bo Guagua confirmed the statement, posted on Saturday, with Reuters.

Since graduating from Harvard University in May with a master’s degree in public policy, Bo Guagua, 24, has kept a low profile, in contrast to reports earlier this year of a playboy lifestyle in the US that created a firestorm on the Internet back in China.

The younger Bo’s statement came a day after the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) accused his father of abusing his power, taking huge bribes and other crimes.

Bo Xilai will be handed over for criminal investigation, state media reported on the latest phase in a scandal of murder and cover-ups that has shaken China’s leadership. Bo Xilai had been seen as a strong contender to become a member of the powerful Standing Committee of the CCP’s Political Bureau later this year.

Bo Xilai’s wife, Gu Kailai (谷開來), and his former police chief, Wang Lijun (王立軍), have both been jailed over the scandal stemming from the murder of British businessman Neil Heywood in Chongqing, where Bo was Communist Party chief.

At her trial on Aug. 9, Gu admitted to poisoning Heywood in November last year.

Gu and Heywood got into a dispute over a soured real-estate deal, according to Xinhua news agency. Gu said she believed Heywood threatened Bo Guagua’s personal safety.

“I suffered a mental breakdown after learning that my son was in jeopardy,” Gu said, according to official accounts.

Last week’s government statement carried by Xinhua said that in the murder scandal, Bo Xilai “abused his powers of office, committed serious errors and bears a major responsibility.”

Bo Guagua is the only child of Bo Xilai and Gu. Though his friends and acquaintances say he would like to challenge the negative perception of his parents more forcefully, he has said very little publicly because he fears it could only make matters worse.

“He [my father] has always taught me to be my own person and to have concern for causes greater than ourselves,” Bo Guagua said in his statement. “I have tried to follow his advice. At this point, I expect the legal process to follow its normal course, and I will await the result.”

This past summer, Bo Guagua traveled along the Maine coast, friends and acquaintances said. He has been somewhat isolated, though, as he takes stock of his uncertain future. Friends said Bo Guagua has had little or no communication with his mother since March, shortly before she was accused of murder. Communication with his father has been intermittent at best, they said.

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