Bo Xilai

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Bo Xilai

Bo Xilai (Chinese: 薄熙来; pinyin: Bó Xīlái; born 3 July 1949) is a former Chinese politician. He came to prominence through his tenures as the mayor of Dalian and then the governor of Liaoning. From 2004 to November 2007, he served as Minister of Commerce. Between 2007 and 2012, he served as a member of the Politburo and Communist Party Secretary of Chongqing, a major interior municipality.

Bo was considered a likely candidate for promotion to the elite Politburo Standing Committee in 18th Party Congress in 2012. His political fortunes came to an abrupt end following the Wang Lijun incident, in which his top lieutenant and police chief sought asylum at the American consulate in Chengdu. Wang claimed to have information about the involvement of Bo Xilai and his wife Gu Kailai in the murder of British businessman Neil Heywood, who allegedly had close financial ties to the two.


Excerpts of letter to his first wife (14 July 1975)[edit]

"Bo Xilai’s Letter and Poem to His First Wife" in The New York Times

  • Images of people actually objectively exist, and on some levels they reflect the peoples’ innermost worlds, including their thoughts, qualities, and personalities. Though some peoples’ actions do not match their words, I think this can be controlled. These people can hide their feelings. But hypocrites who perform as upright people aren’t very convincing.
  • In interactions with friends, we all care about examining each others’ images, and we carefully emphasize the images that we present to our friends. The closer one is with someone, the more we care about this. People never want to feel insignificant in the eyes of someone else, unless we despise this person and want them to quickly forget us.
  • We don’t only depend on “images” to arouse passion and excitement in our lives. More importantly, we must have a rational spirit and help each other move forward. After all, “images” are just a means of getting one’s foot in the door.
  • People always love expressing themselves, and they often pretend to be modest in their words, saying that they are no good at this or that. This is particularly common among friends. But even if people are actually modest, there is no benefit to their behavior.
  • Friends, after all, are supposed to mutually help each other, mutually understand each other. Keeping one’s strengths secret doesn’t only prevent one’s friends from knowing you; it also prevents one’s friends from advancing and learning from your strengths. Many such good strengths have been destroyed by the vanity of the petty bourgeoisie.
  • Knowing one’s flaws is necessary, but knowing one’s strengths and having courage to use them is also necessary. To talk about one’s weaknesses to friends is frank and honest, just as talking about one’s strengths should also be seen as frank. Modesty is an important virtue, but practicality should also be valued.
  • We should not be immeasurably satisfied with the qualities of a mediocre person, but we should also avoid artificial modesty.
  • Feelings are better with a bit of depth. Many revolutionary leaps and achievements are accompanied by the colors of romance. Being able to remember the past with sentimentality is therefore a type of virtue. Regarding melancholy, I don’t like this emotion.
  • On the other hand, one ought to have the moral character and tolerance to forgive people’s weaknesses.

Quotes about Bo Xilai[edit]

  • Now the leaders are more deadlocked. If they can’t decide, nothing happens. In America, if you’re corrupt you have to resign. Look at Nixon. He had Watergate and had to resign. In China does that happen? No. Why? Because everyone is in one boat. If that boat turns over, everyone ends up in the water. When I say “everyone” of course I mean the people in power. So in China everyone helps each other out. If you are in trouble, I’ll help you out and if I’m in trouble you help me out. So only in an extreme case like Bo Xilai can someone be pushed out.
    • Johnson, Ian. “'In the Current System, I'd Be Corrupt Too': An Interview with Bao Tong.” The New York Review of Books, The New York Review of Books, 14 June 2012, 12:40 pm,
    • Bao Tong discussing Bo Xilai

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