Bo Xilai, former secretary of the Chinese Communist Party's Chongqing branch, became "a political rock star" by ridding Chongqing of the mafia and setting the stage "for a downfall worthy of Shakespeare," according to CNN.com. In February, Wang Lijun, Bo's top enforcer, implicated him and his wife, Gu Kailai, in the murder of Neil Heywood, a longtime associate of the Bo family, who was found poisoned in late 2011.
The timing of the scandal coincided with the escape of a blind dissident who went to the U.S. Embassy in Beijing to seek asylum, and both events embarrassed Chinese leaders set on a leadership transition in October. Bo came from the pack of princelings—offspring of the Eight Elders who ran China after the Cultural Revolution—and had once been in strong running to be leading the nation.
Gu was found guilty of murder by a Chinese court and given a suspended death sentence. Bo was dismissed from his post in March, cut from the Communist Party in September, and expelled from Parliament in October.
He now awaits trial on multiple criminal charges.
- Politics & Government
- Crime & Justice
- Bo Xilai
- Gu Kailai
- Neil Heywood