120403 The greatest gangster in China
Bo Xilai the 62 year old Chinese member on the Politburo of the Communist Party of China and Secretary of the Chongqing Committee has been relieved of his duties and reprimanded by Premier Wen Jiabao. Observers believe Bo’s downfall is a consequence of the Wang Lijun scandal, in which his Lieutenant Wang is speculated to have attempted to seek US political asylum with evidence of Bo’s criminal activities. An open letter claimed to have been written by Wang appeared in international Chinese-language websites, criticizing Bo and accusing him of corruption, referring to him as a "hypocrite" and "the greatest gangster in China". Bo was expected to have been offered a position on the Standing Committee of the Politburo, a committee of nine people that effectively control the nation of which the majority are due for replacement. Bo’s decline is seen as a victory for the political right particularly among the reformers and advocates of private enterprise. His advocates on the left however reacted angrily on various websites claiming the dismissal a conspiracy by enemies of the state, resulting in many of the sites being shut down by authorities. Vice Prime Minister Zhang Dejiang is stepping into the secretary role at Chongqing.