Just how long will it take to erase Bo Xilai’s ‘poisonous’ legacy? - SupChina

Just how long will it take to erase Bo Xilai’s ‘poisonous’ legacy?

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Nearly two decades after his departure from Dalian politics, Bo Xilai’s influence continues to “poison” the northeastern Chinese city where he served as mayor and Communist Party chief before being promoted to increasingly powerful roles, reports the SCMP, citing Liaoning provincial anti-corruption inspectors. The city’s leaders “have not thoroughly removed the poison left by Bo Xilai, or the practices that flout [Party] discipline, such as officials getting promotions through bribery and personal connections,” the inspectors stated. Dalian Party secretary Tan Zuojun responded by promising to “launch an ‘all-out and long-term effort’ to cleanse the city of Bo’s sins,” according to the SCMP.

  • The disgraced Bo, who was sentenced to life for corruption and abuse of power after being ousted as Chongqing’s Party secretary in 2012, has been the subject of numerous efforts over the years to wipe out the effects of his leadership, both in Dalian and Chongqing.
  • That’s been bad news for Sun Zhengcai, his successor in the southwest. Sun, who was singled out by Chongqing anti-corruption inspectors earlier this year and subsequently ousted, is now facing a formal corruption investigation. His replacement, a Xi Jinping protégé, previously ordered officials to banish Bo’s “evil legacy” in Chongqing.
  • Despite these efforts and the intervening years, Bo continues to enjoy support among the people of the two cities. In Chongqing, he is remembered “fondly as a can-do leader who improved law and order, turbo-charged the economy, and rejuvenated dilapidated old city quarters,” Reuters reported in July. A Dalian resident told the SCMP, “Mayor Bo is still the best official in the eyes of many people here. He made Dalian a clean and floral city.”
  • Meanwhile, the national graft watchdog this week issued a warning against “concealed extravagance,” such as lavish private parties, “recuperation” at spas, and sightseeing while traveling on official business. Reuters reports that the latest “crackdown on hedonism” is part of Xi Jinping’s campaign to improve professionalism in the bureaucracy during his second term.

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Sky Canaves

Sky Canaves previously reported for The Wall Street Journal in Beijing and Hong Kong, where she covered media, culture, social issues, and legal affairs, and served as the founding editor and lead writer of the WSJ’s China Real Time site. Prior to becoming a journalist, Sky worked in the China corporate law practice of Baker & McKenzie, and she has also taught journalism and media law at the University of Hong Kong. She speaks Mandarin and has accumulated more than a decade's experience living, studying and working in China.