Shake up in Chinese leadership

This is significant because the ousting of Bo Xilai is a signal that there is no going back to the old, state-dominated socialist model.

China doesn't exactly have unbridled capitalism, and there is much corruption which distributes the benefits of the market reforms unevenly. Bo's more traditional model was the favorite of leftists who think that government can mandate equality.


Ambitious Chinese Communist Party leadership contender Bo Xilai has been toppled from his post as head of the inland city of Chongqing, in a move risking a backlash from backers of his controversial vision of socialist growth.

His abrupt downfall, announced on Thursday by the official Xinhua news agency, exposes ideological divisions as a new generation prepares to take power in China later this year, and may stir tensions between supporters of his more traditional, state-dominated version of socialism, and liberal critics, who saw him as a dangerous opportunist.

Bo was removed as party boss of Chongqing, a sprawling region in the southwest that he turned into a bastion of Communist revolutionary-inspired "red" culture and egalitarian growth, a day after being rebuked by Premier Wen Jiabao in a news conference broadcast live across the country.

The telegenic Bo had been a contender for top leadership, but his prospects suffered a blow after Vice Mayor Wang Lijun, previously his longtime police chief, went to ground in February in the U.S. consulate in nearby Chengdu until he was coaxed out and placed under investigation.

Xinhua said Vice Premier Zhang Dejiang will replace Bo, but gave no further details. It also said Wang had been removed from his vice mayor post.

When announcing Bo's dismissing, the head of the party's powerful organizational department, Li Yuanchao, said the move was made "in light of the serious political repercussions of the Wang Lijun incident," according to Chinese news reports that cited a Chongqing television report.

Vice Mayor Wang had earlier been a key figure in a drive against organized crime that garnered Bo nationwide attention.

The Chinese may be Marxists on the surface, but they're not stupid. The limited market model is better than the socialist model - that much has been proven. Bo might dress up his reforms in modern language, but the result would have taken China backwards, not into the future.

That appears to have been the concern of the old leadership in ousting him from power.