Chinese leader expected to be at political session

AP News
Posted: Feb 24, 2012 12:28 AM
Chinese leader expected to be at political session

A top Chinese government adviser said Friday he expects the leader of the southwestern metropolis of Chongqing to attend next month's annual legislative session despite a scandal surrounding a key subordinate.

Zhao Qizheng told reporters he saw no reason why Bo Xilai shouldn't attend the annual session of the National People's Congress as a delegate.

"Personally I think he will attend the session. Why shouldn't he?" said Zhao, head of the foreign affairs committee for the Chinese legislature's advisory body.

Bo's political future was thrown into doubt earlier this month after his longtime confidant, city police chief Wang Lijun, entered the American consulate in the nearby city of Chengdu in an apparent bid for political asylum.

Bo had been considered a contender for a seat on the ruling Communist Party's Politburo Standing Committee when it picks up to seven new members at a major leadership conference this fall.

However, while Bo hasn't been publicly implicated in any investigations, the taint of Wang's scandal is thought to have knocked him out of the running in the cutthroat competition for places. The incident harmed Bo by showing him as unable to control his subordinates.

Unconfirmed media reports say an investigation into abuse of power has targeted Wang, who had been closely linked with Bo and oversaw a crackdown on gangs and corrupt officials on Bo's behalf, winning the pair national attention.

Wang has not been heard from since he left the U.S. consulate earlier this month after a daylong visit.

Bo also gained notoriety for pushing the revival of Mao-era songs and slogans as a means of building social cohesion. That was hailed at first as an homage to the party's revolutionary roots, but enthusiasm waned and some criticized it for its associations with the chaos of the 1966-76 Cultural Revolution.