This caricature of Bo Xilai playing with a bird - which in Chinese means he's "over" - circulated on Chinese social media.
The sudden sacking of one of Chinese politics’ rising stars, Bo Xilai, has become one of China’s biggest scandals in the past two decades. Three of our Observers in China tell us what this charismatic figure meant to them, and illustrate why his downfall has rattled so many.
Until recently, Bo served as party secretary in the mega-city of Chongqing, home to about 30 million people, located in central China. He was slated for a top job in the country’s leadership come autumn, when the party will replace about half of its retiring leaders. However, he was fired by the national Communist Party leadership last month for alleged breach of party rules; his wife, meanwhile, was charged with the murder of a British expat
under murky circumstances.
Bo was well-known throughout China for the sweeping changes he made in Chongqing. Under his rule, he launched a series of large-scale campaigns – one against crime, another to promote public housing, and a more controversial one to bring back “red culture” – a throwback to the Cultural Revolution, complete with public singing of Mao-era songs. Meanwhile, the city did very well economically – its GDP rose by over 16 percent in 2011, outpacing other major Chinese cities.
Since he’s been fired, much in Chongqing has changed. Signs in public squares now ban the singing of “red songs,” and advertising has replaced the propaganda messages that were broadcast on local television during his rule. His supporters, meanwhile, claim crime is starting to make a comeback. Some of them even attempted to hold protests over his firing, which were quickly dispersed