Political leader Bo Xilai is at the center of a political scandal that has rocked China in recent months
Photo by Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images.
UPDATE: Since mid-March, China has shut down more than 40 websites and deleted more than 210,000 posts that speculate on the purge of Bo Xilai from the red government and the accusations that his wife was involved in the murder of a British businessman, Agence France-Presse reports Thursday.
Internet users reportedly went around the blocks by using other terms, such as "the major news," to refer to the political scandal that has rocked the red state in recent months, according to Voice of America.
Read more on the Internet crackdown here.
Tuesday, April 10: Bo Xilai, a Communist leader at the center of what has been called China’s biggest political upheaval in decades, was stripped of his most powerful posts on Tuesday, a move that comes as his wife is being investigated for the November murder of a British businessman, according to brief dispatches out of the state-run Xinhua news agency.
One such dispatch reports that Bo "is suspected of being involved in serious discipline violations" but doesn’t go into further detail. That vagueness kicked the rumor mill into high gear, with plenty speculating about what exactly led to the demise of the politician who had previously been considered a strong contender for a post in this fall's once-a-decade national leadership transition. Intense rumors are also circling around the perceived ongoing strife within the red state’s closed and secretive government.
Meanwhile, another Xinhua dispatch reports that Bo’s wife and their son "were in good terms" with murdered British businessman Neil Heywood but that "they had conflict over economic interests." The wife and an orderly at Bo’s home are reportedly suspected in the homicide and have since been "transferred to judicial authorities."
The scandal first broke out in February when Bo’s former police chief sought refuge in a U.S. consulate in China and said that Heywood was poisoned after he had fallen out with Bo’s wife.
The Wall Street Journal with more on the mysterious murder:
Mr. Heywood was among a small group of trusted advisers to the Bo family, according to people close to them. However, in the days before he died, Mr. Heywood told friends that he feared for his safety. He told them Ms. Gu [Bo’s wife] had become increasingly convinced the family had been betrayed by someone in their "inner circle."
Bo is the highest-ranking leader to come under investigation since former Communist party chief and Politburo member Chen Liangyu was sentenced in 2008 for bribery and abuse of power.