Insight: China's Bo exits stage left in succession drama
By Chris Buckley
BEIJING (Reuters) - Bo Xilai received a hint of a gathering storm that would soon topple him and shake China's ruling Communist Party in the form of an oblique warning about the weather.
Bo had flown to Beijing from Chongqing, his city power-base in the southwest, for the annual session of the party-run parliament. He was struggling to subdue an uproar after his police chief took refuge in a U.S. consulate for a day.
Telegenic and self-assured in a political elite crowded with wary conformists, Bo was already controversial for thrusting forward "red" Chongqing as a bold alternative model for China.
The astounding antics of his long-time aide, Vice Mayor Wang Lijun, threatened to spoil parliament's show of unity and Bo's run for a place in the party's innermost circle of power.
The warning came on March 3 from a senior central leader who told Bo and other assembled officials in Chongqing to be careful while attending the parliament session in Beijing.
"The climate in Chongqing is very different from the climate in Beijing," said the official, who several sources have told Reuters was He Guoqiang, the Party's top man for keeping discipline and fighting corruption. "So I hope that everyone will take care against the cold and stay warm, and be careful to stay healthy."
NO ISOLATED INCIDENT
Beijing's political winds indeed turned brutally against Bo. His removal as party chief of Chongqing was announced last week, stoking uncertainty about how China will manage a tricky handover later this year to a new generation of leaders at the 18th Communist Party Congress. Continued...