Bloomberg News

Chongqing Official Fired as China Acts Against Bo’s Legacy

March 27, 2012

China’s ruling Communist Party replaced a senior official in the southwestern municipality of Chongqing as part of broader changes there after Politburo member Bo Xilai was ousted from his leadership post.

Chen Cungen was removed as a standing member of the city’s party committee, the state-run Chongqing Daily reported today. The city will also scrap “Daily Red Songs,” a television program begun amid Bo’s efforts to revive the spirit of China’s Maoist past, the official Xinhua News Agency reported yesterday.

The measures add to evidence that the party’s central leadership is repudiating Bo’s political legacy in Chongqing, one of the nation’s largest metropolitan areas. The firing of Bo amid an investigation into his former police chief has highlighted the party’s goal of securing a stable once-in-a- decade leadership transition scheduled for later this year.

“He doesn’t have any friends, he is a lone wolf,” Zhao Suisheng, director of the Center for China-U.S. Cooperation at the University of Denver, said by phone after meeting with Chinese officials last week. “Nobody really supports him at the top.”

Analysts including Zhao said Bo’s chances of winning a spot on the Standing Committee, the country’s supreme decision-making body, fell drastically after the police chief, Wang Lijun, spent a night at the U.S. consulate in Chengdu and was later put under government investigation.

Switch to Drama

Xinhua said that the “Daily Red Songs” program, which features performances of tunes celebrating Chairman Mao Zedong and the Communist Party revolution, will now air once a week. The 15-minute show will be replaced with television dramas, Xinhua said.

Caixin Online reported yesterday that the police chief of Chongqing’s Yubei district, Wang Pengfei, has been placed under investigation. The magazine, citing three police officers it did not identify, said Wang Pengfei was an aide to Wang Lijun.

After Bo’s ouster, speculation circulated on the Internet that his dismissal indicated a bigger split in the leadership, with no response from Party leaders in Beijing and no appearance in public of the full Politburo Standing Committee.

Image of Unity

Later signals from the party suggested it was trying to project an image of unity, said Huang Jing, a professor of political science at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy at the National University of Singapore.

Four of the members of the nine-man Politburo Standing Committee appeared at an event together on March 20 in Beijing. State media also covered several appearances by another Standing Committee member Zhou Yongkang, including a meeting with Indonesia’s foreign minister.

Premier Wen Jiabao warned yesterday that corruption may endanger the Communist Party’s survival and pledged to ban the use of public funds to buy cigarettes and “high-end” alcohol.

Speaking at a State Council meeting, Wen said government agencies must publish detailed information about spending related to car purchases and use. He said the government will step up supervision of officials whose spouses have emigrated abroad.

“It’s best to keep everything stable during a time of a leadership transition,” Huang said.

To contact Bloomberg News staff for this story: Yidi Zhao in Beijing at yzhao7@bloomberg.net; Michael Forsythe in Beijing at mforsythe@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Peter Hirschberg at phirschberg@bloomberg.net


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