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Bo Xilai’s Son Speaks Out, Puts Foot in Mouth

Are the sins of the father being visited upon the son? The Bo Xilai saga swirling through the top echelons of Chinese politics has reached the manicured lawns of Harvard, where Bo’s son, Bo Guagua, is enrolled in the Kennedy School of Government. Guagua has attracted significant media attention of late, most of which has centered on his lifestyle – he was rumored to own a Ferrari and in other ways live much better than the son of a corruption-fighting civil servant should reasonably expect – as well as questions surrounding how he and his family had been able to afford his education at Harvard, Oxford and the prestigious Harrow School in London.

Bo Guagua responded to these and other issues in a statement to The Harvard Crimson, the school’s newspaper:

My tuition and living expenses at Harrow School, University of Oxford and Harvard University were funded exclusively by two sources—scholarships earned independently, and my mother’s generosity from the savings she earned from her years as a successful lawyer and writer.

The statement itself is worth reading. Just as revealing, however, are the comments. Numbering well over 1200 – and growing – they appear to come mostly from Chinese citizens. Some are written in Mandarin, others in broken English. The comments predominantly condemn Guagua, but it is the extent of the vitriol directed towards him and his family that is worth noting. Given his father’s alleged corruption – Bo Xilai and his family are reportedly worth hundreds of millions of dollars – Bo Guagua has become a lightning rod for many Chinese who feel he symbolizes the sense that the game is rigged, that privilege matters more than merit, and that top officials are looting the country’s treasure.

Bo Xilai rose by appealing to Chinese resentment of corrupt elites, and encouraged a revival of Mao-era leftist ideology. But like many authoritarian populists around the world, Bo was more interested in exploiting the possibilities of a corrupt system than in overturning it. The bitter rage and disappointment of his betrayed leftist allies now mixes with the fear and anger of those who saw him as an aspiring dictator and practicing thug.

For young Guagua, there is really no way forward unless he is willing to fork over any of his parents’ stolen assets that he retains. In any case, he should keep a low profile and stay out of China. He cannot explain himself; there is nothing to explain.

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  • Anthony

    “…he symbolizes the sense that the game is rigged, that privilege matters more than merit….” Reads like common human feature despite governing arrangements of nations – human life, it is true, is less an affair of institutions and systems than of people and the interplay of motivations and abilities; a low profile is recommnded

  • Anthony

    Correction: a low profile is recommendable.

  • “the manicured lawns of Harvard” ?

    Last time I looked they had all been paved over.

  • Speaking of Chinese on campus:


    (Remember, with China numbers trump everything; we’re talking about the biggest country in the world — a totalitarian dictatorship.)

  • Hey, get this. The 5th most powerful man in “the people’s republic” of China is head of something called The Central Guidance Commission for Building Spiritual Civilization

    What in the world are we doing with these guys? Reminds me of American businessmen doing business with Hitler’s Germany in the 1930’s except that there are a lot more of them today and they are making a lot more money.

  • From the LA Times:

    “Married women are still required to get permission from the government before they give birth, are pressured to have gynecological tests to check for pregnancy, and are forced to abort when they have reached their birth quotas”

    What’s totalitarian about that?

  • More from LA Times:

    “State media reported in February that the government wants to drop slogans such as, “We would rather scrape your womb than allow you to have a second child,” preferring gentler reminders of the policy.”

    So they are softening their approach, eh?

  • From Epoch Times:

    “In the history of the CCP, there have been more than a dozen movements that are “life and death” struggles. In reality, all of these struggles have coincided with the transfer of power following changes of basic Party principles.

    Every change in principles has come from an inevitable crisis faced by the CCP, threatening its legitimacy and survival. Whether it be collaborating with the Kuomintang Party, a pro-U.S. foreign policy, economic reform and market expansion, or promoting nationalism—each of these decisions occurred at a moment of crisis, and all had to do with gaining or solidifying power.”

    Promoting nationalism? Uh-oh. Where are we now?

  • Jacksonian Libertarian

    “that top officials are looting the country’s treasure”

    Well, DUH! I’m reminded that Vladimir Putin despite never working for anything but the government is 51% owner of the 5th largest oil company in Russia. I’m sure many of the businesses in China are owned by government officials as well, and that they all have foreign bank accounts in places like Switzerland.

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