A Chinese policeman blocks photos outside Zhongnanhai, the central headquarters… (Mark Ralston, AFP/Getty…)
BEIJING — The Chinese state media left no doubt Wednesday about their view of Bo Xilai, the charismatic son of a revolutionary and until recently one of China's most powerful people.
"Bo Xilai's conduct has seriously violated the party's disciplinary rules, damaging the affairs of the party and the country and badly harming the image of the party and country," said an editorial Wednesday morning in the People's Daily, the mouthpiece of the Chinese Communist Party. "There are no citizens who are privileged before the law, and the party does not allow privileged members who stand above the law."
Bo a day earlier was suspended from his political positions and his wife was placed under arrest on suspicion of killing a British man who'd been a family friend.
Hoping to avoid too much public reaction, the official news agency reported that Bo's 53-year-old wife, Gu Kailai, and a second person had been "transferred to judicial authorities."
Neil Heywood, 41, was found dead in November in Chongqing, the city where Bo was until last month Communist Party secretary. The original finding on cause of death was excessive alcohol consumption, but police later came to suspect that he had been poisoned. Heywood was a business consultant who had reportedly done some work with Bo's family and helped get Bo's son into the exclusive Harrow boarding school in England.
The scandal has been rocking China since February, when Wang Lijun, Chongqing's former top cop, sought political asylum at the U.S. Consulate in nearby Chengdu with a stack of documents allegedly pointing to corruption in Bo's family. Many Chinese called the family the Kennedys of China, although more recently the comparisons have been to Macbeth, and particularly Lady Macbeth, the Shakespearean poisoner.
"What schadenfreude," observed a commentator on a U.S.-based Chinese-language social media site.
When Bo, 62, was seen at the sidelines of the National People's Congress in March, he accused enemies of "pouring filth" on his family.