By Jamil Anderlini, March 15, 2012 —
Bo Xilai, one of China’s most high-flying communist officials and a contender for its top leadership, has been purged in the most significant political upheaval in the country in two decades.
A member of the 25-member Communist party politburo and the “princeling” son of a revolutionary hero, Mr Bo has been embroiled in a political scandal since early last month, when his handpicked police chief attempted to defect to the US claiming that Mr Bo was trying to have him killed. . . .
At a live televised press conference on Wednesday, Wen Jiabao, the Chinese premier, directly criticised Mr Bo over the incident in a rare display of disunity among the highest ranks of the party.
“The current party committee and government of Chongqing must seriously reflect on the Wang Lijun incident and learn lessons from this incident,” Mr Wen said. The dismissal and a possible investigation into Mr Bo, a conservative strongman when it came to the question of political reform, will be seen as a victory for more liberal reformist elements within the party, led by Mr Wen. . . .