China Leadership Monitor

Bo Xilai Takes On Organized Crime

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Although the 18th Party Congress remains two years away, competition among officials for seats on the all-important Politburo Standing Committee appears to be heating up. Over the past nine months, Bo Xilai, Party secretary of Chongqing, has been carrying out a high-profile campaign against organized crime that has catapulted him into the limelight. Because his predecessor in that position was Wang Yang, currently Party secretary of Guangdong Province and seemingly a valued protégé of General Secretary Hu Jintao, there has been much speculation over the possible rivalry between these two contenders for power. This speculation has been fueled in part because Bo Xilai, son of senior political leader Bo Yibo, is a “princeling” while Wang Yang, with no special family background but with a long history in the Communist Youth League, appears to be favored by Hu Jintao. Although one must be cautious about drawing conclusions, it is a situation that bears watching as preparations for the congress continue.