Chongqing renews attacks on ousted leaders

Sun Zhengcai (left) was dubbed a bully by the paper, while Bo Xilai was accused of raising his own flag.
Sun Zhengcai (left) was dubbed a bully by the paper, while Bo Xilai was accused of raising his own flag.PHOTOS: REUTERS

Official daily says one had 'independent kingdom', the other had 'lazy politics'

BEIJING • The government of the south-western Chinese city of Chongqing renewed its attacks on two of its disgraced former leaders yesterday, saying one had set up an "independent kingdom" while the other was a lazy deceiver.

Chongqing, one of China's most important cities, is perhaps best known outside China for its association with its one-time party boss, Bo Xilai, himself a contender for top leadership before being jailed for life in 2013 in a dramatic corruption scandal.

In July, another of its party chiefs, Sun Zhengcai, was sacked after he was accused of corruption.

Sun, who has yet to face a court, had also been seen as a contender for promotion to the highest echelons of power in China.

Chongqing is now run by Mr Chen Min'er, a close ally of President Xi Jinping, who has made fighting corruption a cornerstone of his administration. Mr Chen has vowed to root out graft in the city.

In a front-page commentary, the official Chongqing Daily said there could be no excuses for ignoring party instructions, especially on party discipline issues.

"Bo Xilai raised his own flag, started something new in order to be different, and set up an independent kingdom," the paper wrote, in apparent reference to his "Chongqing model" policy of more equal growth and flashy infrastructure projects.

Bo, a former commerce minister, turned the sprawling, haze-covered municipality into a showcase for his mix of populist policies and bold spending plans that won support from leftists yearning for a charismatic leader. His campaign against crime was also crucial in making him the country's most prominent provincial-level leader, and a popular one at that.

But he was ousted after his wife murdered a British businessman, and was later jailed for a litany of crimes, including bribery, corruption and abuse of power.

Sun, though, has yet to be formally charged. The party has accused him of leaking secrets, as well as bribery and abuse of power.

The Chongqing Daily did not reveal any other details of what Sun is suspected of, only levelling further broad accusations against him.

"Sun Zhengcai practised lazy and indolent politics, bullied those below and hoodwinked those above, and was passive in handling enforcement of decision from the party centre," it added.

The actions of Bo and Sun seriously harmed the party and had a malign influence on Chongqing, the paper said. Efforts need to be redoubled to root out their "residual poison", it wrote.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 21, 2017, with the headline 'Chongqing renews attacks on ousted leaders'. Print Edition | Subscribe