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BBC World Service

Bo Xilai scandal continues in China

Juliana Liu Apr 20, 2012

Jeremy Hobson: There are new details today in a major political scandal in China. The case of Bo Xilai, the once powerful Chinese official who was fired from the government as part of a murder investigation. Now a Chinese journalist has told the BBC that an official cover up of the murder began immediately after it happened.

The BBC’s Juliana Liu joins us from Hong Kong with more. Good morning.

Juliana Liu: Good morning.

Hobson: Well take us back to the basics here — just give us the quick version of what this scandal is all about.

Liu: We haven’t seen a political scandal of this magnitude really in decades in China. One of the country’s most powerful men, [tapped] for a very senior position in the new government has been fired from all his party posts because his wife has emerged as the prime suspect in the murder of a British businessman, Neil Heywood, who died last year.

The government isn’t being entirely forthcoming with the ongoing investigation, so you can imagine there are a lot of rumors about what’s going on. And because he is such a popular figure, there are some people who even believe that there was no murder and that this entire scandal has been cooked up by the Beijing government.

Hobson: And we certainly love our political scandals over here in this country, but what’s at stake in China with this scandal? Why does it really matter?

Liu: Well, this man is the son of one of the founding fathers of China, essentially. And he’s incredibly powerful — he was the party secretary of Chongqing, which is a city of 30 million people. He revitalized the city of Dalian — based on Washington D.C., because he loved the layout of Washington D.C. and he remade a city similar to that.

So this is a man that the people have been following for decades, so there’s a lot of interest in what will happen to him. And of course, how this scandal is handled will tell people a lot about the way the Chinese government works.

Hobson: The BBC’s Juliana Liu in Hong Kong. Thanks a lot.

Liu: Thank you.

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