In my post “Rule of law and democracy advocator Qiao Shi returns” yesterday, I said quite much on the question of whether Bo would return as he said to his Japanese friend. Qiao Shi’s case is quite different from Bo’s. Qiao’s was a normal retirement and he was succeeded by his chosen successor. Bo has had all his positions suspended for offenses against Party discipline. The most important issues for Bo’s return are first whether he remains a Party member. Deng Xiaoping was happy that he was not deprived of his Party membership when he fell into disgrace after the April 5 Tiananmen Incident. After two months investigation, Bo was recently called “comrade” by Politburo member Zhang Dejiang, he seems to be able to retain his party membership. Second, what his followers have suffered.
We have two reports today from two Hong Kong newspapers. They report the same election results of Chongqing’s recent party congress, but they differ in their views on the results.
SCMP seems to believe that Bo’s faction suffered seriously by giving its report the title “Bo’s top aid left out of leadership”. It refers to Xu Ming’s failure to be reelected as a member of the City Party Standing Committee. SCMP says, Bo’s ally He Shizhong also suffered in failing to keep his seat in that committee.
Singtao Daily seems to hold that Bo’s faction have not suffered much. First, Bo’s close ally Wang Qifan has been elected a deputy to the 18th Party Congress and reelected as the first deputy secretary of the City Party Committee; second Bo’s top aid Xu Ming has been reelected a member of the City Party Committee though lost his seat in the City Party Standing Committee; third, Wu Zhenglong has kept his seat in the City Party Standing Committee.
The last but not the least, Yao Ning, Bo’s notorious follower who played a major role in Bo’s campaign against organized crime, was found in the list of 50 candidates to be elected as Party Congress delegates. It roused an uproar of protests but she was not elected according to some microblogs. However, the Organization Department of the City Party Commiitte refused to confirm and said the list of elected delegates would be published in due course.
In my preceding post “Bo Xilai’s wife ‘admits Neil Heywood murder’”, The Telegraph says that the authorities “have interviewed hundreds and detained ‘dozens of people’ associated with him ‘including his chauffeurs, close aides and secretaries’”, but none of Bo’s high-ranking followers in Chongqing have been detained or placed under house arrest or fallen into disgrace.
It proves Reuters’ report that Hu Jintao declared Bo’s case as an “isolated case” and intervened to prevent widening of the rift and limit purge of Bo’s policies and supporters.
Bo’s own faction suffered not heavily in Chongqing while his faction in Liaoning and the Ministry of Commerce and the faction Bo inherited from his father Bo Yibo remain intact. Bo’s power base remains much stronger than Xi Jinping’s. He certainly can say with confidence, “I will return”, if he is found not involved in his wife’s case. According to Bo’s close friend Japanese reporter Mr. Udagawa, Bo has long been separated from his wife.