Bo Xilai, a high-profile contender for the top leadership of China, has been removed from his post as the Communist Party leader of a major southwestern city, potentially ending the rise of a prominent conservative voice in the country.
Vice Premier Zhang Dejiang will replace Bo as the party chief in Chongqing and will also keep his vice premier portfolio, state news agency Xinhua said in a brief report on Thursday.
Initial reports did not say if Bo would retain his seat in the party's 25-member Politburo.
Bo was criticised by Wen Jiabao, the prime minister, in a press conference on Wednesday over a February 6 incident in which Chongqing's police chief, Wang Lijun, briefly sought refuge in a US consulate. Chinese media speculated that Wang, who also held the position of vice mayor, had evidence of corruption and was seeking political asylum.
Wang was placed under investigation after being persuaded to leave the consulate.
Bo, 62, is considered a conservative and has tried to push the boundaries of populism in China, where many leading politicians are cautious pragmatists who climbed the ranks of the party bureaucracy. He is now reportedly held in Beijing while being investigated for unspecified reasons.
Before the recent scandal, Bo had been tipped to break into the Politburo's all-powerful, nine-member Standing Committee after the party congress in November.
Chan said Bo's sacking would probably prompt jostling as new contenders considered trying to get a seat on the committee. It comes before a major leadership transition in China's ruling party later this year following weeks of intense speculation about his future.
As the Chongqing party secretary since 2007, Bo oversaw a much-praised but controversial campaign against organised crime and official corruption.
He is known as a "princeling" son of Bo Yibo, one of the party's "eight immortals" from the late 1970s.
|< Prev||Next >|
Other articles in Asia-Pacific
#China to mobilise 'all forces' after attack 23 May 2014
#Vietnam mulls legal action against #China 22 May 2014
#Thailand under curfew after army takeover 22 May 2014
Deadly blast hits China's #Xinjiang region 22 May 2014
#Koreas exchange fire in disputed waters 22 May 2014
Thai crisis meeting ends without agreement 21 May 2014
Thai army chief to meet political leaders 21 May 2014
South Korea manhunt for missing ferry owner 20 May 2014
Thailand's army declares martial law 20 May 2014
#China denounces US cyber spying charges 20 May 2014
|Timothy V. Gatto|
|William A. Cook|