The former Commerce Minister Bo Xilai, one of the candidates to join the Politburo Standing Committee when it is renewed in October, spoke at the annual National People’s Congress after a scandal that threatened his political career.
According to the official Xinhua News Agency, Mr. Bo, the general secretary of the municipality of Chongqing and has always attracted attention for his unorthodox policies, led the delegation of Chongqing at the press conference and spoke of the struggle against local corruption .
Known for his charisma and penchant for appearing before the media, Bo was one of the strongest candidates for the post in the Politburo Standing Committee of the Communist Party, a selected club of seven to nine members which is renewed every ten years and directs the destinies of the Asian giant.
But the star of Bo went out in February, when the “number two” in Chongqing, Wang Lijun, surprisingly broke into the U.S. consulate in Chengdu, which caused a diplomatic conflict that damaged his image.
Since then, the independent press, especially from Hong Kong, monitors Bo’s public appearances for clues to whether the former minister will fall from grace or overcome the crisis, securing key positions in the future government of China.
The appearance of Bo in the National People’s Congress, highlighted by Xinhua, seems to show that the charismatic leader still in line for the old guard, although the Hong Kong newspaper “South China Morning Post” noted his absence at previous meeting.
Bo is the son of a prominent revolutionary Bo Yibo, and representative of the “Princelings”, a faction of the Communist Party calling for a return to more idealistic and social values and to some extent, a return to the Maoist ideals.
The former minister has expressed support for this cause in Chongqing, a city that since he governs has become a kind of national bastion of Maoism: here the people must learn old revolutionary songs, and local television broadcasts programs to disseminate traditional communism.
Faced with Bo, is a more liberal faction, favored a capital and finance driven economy, headed by Wang Yang, Party Secretary General in Guangdong, seeking an growth-oriented economic model.
Analysts say the scandal of Wang Lijun is a symptom of the struggle between two factions and the great competition within the Party to achieve higher level positions in the future Politburo Standing Committee, although the official press tries to maintain an image of stability and continuity.