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Bo Xilai Ousted from Communist Party

The Communist Party has expelled Bo Xilai, the former party chief of Chongqing, who’s been embroiled in corruption allegations since early this year.

The Politburo made the decision on September 28, the official Xinhua News Agency said. Bo will next face criminal charges.

On April 10, the Politburo listened to a report about Wang Lijun, the former police chief of Chongqing, who fled to the U.S. consulate in Chengdu, Sichuan province, on February 6, Xinhua said. The report informed members of investigations into the death of British businessman Neil Heywood and involvement by Bogu Kailai, Bo’s wife.

Also on April 10, Bo was dismissed from his memberships in the Central Committee and Politburo for “serious disciplinary offenses.”

Investigations determined Bo violated discipline rules when he took up senior posts in Dalian, Liaoning province; while serving in Chongqing Municipality; and as commerce minister.

Investigators also ruled that Bo abused his power in the cover-up of the Heywood murder, accepted bribes, and had improper relations with women, Xinhua said.

Bo’s wife, Bogu Kailai, received a suspended death sentence on August 20 in a court in Hefei, Anhui province, for the intentional homicide of Heywood, a former business partner of the Bo family.

Wang was sentenced to fifteen years in prison September 24 for abuse of power, corruption, and defecting by fleeing to the U.S. consulate in Chengdu.

The son of Bo Yibo, a senior Party leader throughout the 1980s and 1990s, Bo Xilai joined the Party in 1980 and his political career rapidly ascended. He was the mayor of Dalian in the 1990s and appointed governor of Liaoning in 2001, and served as minister of commerce between 2004 and 2007.

Bo was appointed Chongqing party chief in late 2007, and with Wang’s help he started a war on organized crime in that southwestern municipality. Some criticized the law enforcement methods used in the campaign as heavy-handed.

The September 28 Politburo meeting, chaired by President Hu Jintao, also said the meeting to announce the once-in-a-decade leadership change will open on November 8.

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Timeline of the Bo Xilai Scandal

Before 2005:
British businessman Neil Heywood establishes a relationship with Bo Xilai and his family. He helps his son, Bo Guagua, get into Harrow, an elite school in England.

Late 2007:
Wang Lijun gets to know Bo’s wife Bogu Kailai while working at the Public Security Bureau in the city of Jinzhou in Liaoning province. Meanwhile, Bo was named the party chief for the municipality of Chongqing.

June 2008:
Wang Lijun is transferred to Chongqing for a job as deputy director of the Chongqing Municipal Public Security Bureau.

March 2009:
Wang Lijun promoted to chief of the Chongqing Public Security Bureau. A few months later, Wang and Bo launch a war against organized crime in the area.

May 2011:
Wang Lijun appointed vice-mayor of Chongqing.

Second Half 2011:
Bogu Kailai’s business relationship with Neil Heywood deteriorates. After the two have an argument over money, Bogu sees Heywood as a threat to her son and begins plotting his murder.

November 12, 2011:
Bogu Kailai arranges for her family’s assistant and bodyguard, Zhang Xiaojun, to bring Heywood to Chongqing to have him murdered. She plots to make it appear Heywood has a drug problem. After a discussion with Bogu, Wang arranges monitoring of Heywood and charges him as a suspected drug dealer.

November 13, 2011:
Zhang Xiaojun accompanies Heywood from Beijing to Chongqing. Heywood checks into the Nanshan Lijing Holiday Hotel, where at 9 p.m. Bogu Kailai and Zhang arrive to prepare for his poisoning. Around midnight, Bogu invites Heywood to join her for a drink and has him poisoned. Bogu speaks with Wang about the matter.

November 14, 2011
Wang Lijun records Bogu Kailai privately confessing to the murder of Neil Heywood during a meeting at Bogu’s home.

November 15-17, 2011:
Neil Heywood’s body is discovered. Wang Lijun appoints Guo Weiguo, then chief of Chongqing’s Public Security Bureau, to head the investigation. Guo works alongside Li Yang, Wang Zhi and Wang Pengfei for the probe. They cover up Bogu’s involvement and announce Heywood died from excessive alcohol or a heart attack.

November 18, 2011:
Neil Heywood’s family agrees to have his remains cremated. When Wang Lijun calls to tell Bogu the news, he leaves her a cryptic message: “It turned into blue smoke flying to the west with the cranes.”

December 2011:
Tension rises between Bogu Kailai and Wang Lijun.

Late January 2012:
Wang Lijun tells Bo Xilai about the Neil Heywood murder. In a fit of rage, Bo slaps Wang. Feeling uneasy and paranoid, Wang gathers the other conspirators to organize a secret dossier on the investigation.

February 2, 2012:
Wang Lijun is removed from his post as head of Chongqing’s Public Security Bureau, and his job description as deputy mayor is adjusted to cover education.

February 6, 2012:
Wang Lijun flees to the American consulate in Chengdu at 2:31 p.m.

February 7, 2012:
Wang Lijun leaves the consulate on his own volition and is taken into custody by Chinese authorities.

February 8, 2012:
Chongqing municipal officials announce Wang was on leave for “vacation-style treatment” due to overwork and mental stress.

March 15, 2012:
Bo Xilai is removed from his position as Chongqing party chief and related municipal positions. Bogu Kailai and Zhang Xiaojun are placed under house arrest as homicide suspects.

April 10, 2012:
The investigation into Heywood’s death is reopened and Bo Xilai is dismissed from his posts as Central Party Committee member and Politburo member for “serious disciplinary offenses.”

July 2012:
Bogu Kailai and Zhang Xiaojun arrested and charged for alleged intentional homicide by the prosecutor’s office in Hefei, Anhui province. Wang Lijun is arrested as a defector for fleeing to the U.S. consulate. Other alleged conspirators—Guo Weiguo, Li Yang, Wang Pengfei, and Wang Zhi—are arrested and charged by Hefei prosecutors with covering up Bogu’s involvement and subverting the law for personal gain.

August 2-8, 2012:
The city of Chengdu’s prosecutors add subverting the law for personal gain and suspicion of bribery to a list of charges against Wang Lijun.

August 9-10, 2012:
Bogu Kailai and Zhang Xiaojun tried in court on charges of intentional murder.

August 20, 2012:
Hefei Intermediate People’s Court announces verdicts against all conspirators. Bogu Kailai is found guilty, receives a suspended death sentence, and is deprived of all political rights for the rest of her life. Zhang Xiaojun is found guilty and receives a nine-year prison sentence. Guo Weiguo is given an eleven-year sentence, Li Yang seven years, and Wang Pengfei and Wang Zhi each five years. None appeal the verdicts.

September 2012:
The trials for Wang Lijun on charges of defection, abuse of power, bribery, and subverting the law for personal gain begin in Chengdu Intermediate People’s Court. On September 24, Wang is found guilty and sentenced to fifteen years in prison.

September 28, 2012:
A meeting held by China’s Politburo announced that Bo Xilai is expelled from the Communist Party for disciplinary violations and will face criminal charges.

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From the Caixin Editors

Had former Chongqing party chief Bo Xilai managed to consolidate power and challenge the ruling establishment, his influence over this year’s leadership transition in Beijing may have been great indeed. Yet Bo’s impact on the largely closed-door transition process has been huge anyway, even through he failed an alleged quest for Politburo power. The slow, stepping-stone destruction of Bo by the Communist Party and a cooperative judiciary actually lengthened his shadow over the transition set for the next few weeks. He was demoted in stages over a period of months. Similarly, over time his wife and his former close associate, a triad-fighting former police chief, were detained, accused, tried, and sentenced. Every step was duly reported by state-run news outlets. This week, late on a Friday afternoon before the beginning of China’s weeklong National Holidays, Bo’s removal from the Party was announced, giving the masses something to mull during their days off work. Yet the shadow was still there.

Compiled by Caixin

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