After Harvard, future is uncertain for Bo's son

Sat Apr 14, 2012 10:15am EDT
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By Ros Krasny, Adam Tanner, Benjamin Kang Lim and William Maclean

CAMBRIDGE, Mass./BEIJING/LONDON (Reuters) - Bo Guagua, a 24-year-old descendant of Chinese Communist royalty, seemed destined to one day become a rich and powerful businessman in an economy that in his lifetime would become the world's largest.

His pedigree, elite schooling, easy confidence and connections left those who knew him in no doubt he would pursue a business career and amass a fortune.

That was until a British expatriate, Neil Heywood, died last November in a hotel in a huge city in western China, a world away from the clipped lawns and hushed libraries of Harvard University where Bo was studying. The story now looks certain to ruin his family and upend his ambitions.

People are no longer sure of young Bo's fate: return to his family in China, seek asylum in the United States, or other options.

"Now he is an orphan," a source close to Bo's family said.

Late Friday, the UK Daily Telegraph reported that Bo Guagua, pulling a roller suitcase, slipped out of his apartment building late on Thursday night, in a pre-arranged pickup by law-enforcement officers.

Bo Guagua's mother, Gu Kailai, has been detained on suspicion of murdering Heywood, who for years had close ties to the Bo family. His father, Bo Xilai, one of China's most charismatic and ambitious politicians, has been stripped of all his roles within the top echelons of the Chinese communist party.

The young man's family connections, which can be traced to his grandfather Bo Yibo, a revolutionary comrade of Mao Zedong, are now seen as poisonous rather than profitable in a country where personal relationships, or guanxi, are often the key to success.   Continued...

China's former Chongqing Municipality Communist Party Secretary Bo Xilai (R) and his son Bo Guagua stand in front of a picture of his father Bo Yibo, former vice-chairman of the Central Advisory Commission of the Communist Party of China, at a mourning hall in Beijing in this January 18, 2007 file photo. REUTERS/Stringer