China Leadership Monitor

The Bo Xilai Affair and the PLA

Monday, August 6, 2012

On 15 March 2012, Chongqing Municipality leader, princeling and aspiring national elite Bo Xilai was stripped of his leadership posts, following the dramatic flight of his former deputy police chief Wang Lijun to the U.S. consulate in Chengdu and revelations about the possible involvement of Bo’s wife in the murder of a British businessman. In the wake of his purge, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Falungong-controlled media were rife with rumors about Bo’s relationships with senior military officers and even a possible coup attempt in Beijing. This article examines Bo’s ties with the PLA through his career, assesses the validity of various claims about the fallout in the military from his purge, and speculates about any possible implications for party-military relations.