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Ferrari crash reports bring fresh political scandal in China

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Gu Kailai was found guilty of poisoning Neil Heywood after a multi-million dollar business deal went sour, in a case that raised questions over the lavish lifestyles of some of China’s top leaders.

The case ended Bo’s hopes of admission to the Politburo Standing Committee, the elite group of Communist leaders who effectively run China, when seven of its nine members stand down at a party congress expected to be held next month.

Both stories centre on the huge wealth amassed by many senior leaders in China – a highly controversial issue in a country where tens of millions still live in poverty.

Many leaders send their children to be educated abroad – Bo Guagua, son of Gu and Bo, attended an exclusive British private school before studying at Oxford, and was also reported to have driven a Ferrari.

Analysts said the impact of the latest scandal on Ling’s political career remained unclear, but that the reports dealt “another blow” to the legitimacy of the Communist Party after the Bo affair.

“Conspiracy theories proliferate easily, but hard evidence is spare,” said Jean-Pierre Cabestan, an expert in Chinese politics at Hong Kong Baptist University.

“What the car crash at least shows is that both Ling’s son and Bo’s son drive the same kind of car… indicating that neither of them are terribly poor.

“Both stories underscore how rich the top of the Communist Party nomenklatura and their family have become. Another blow to the party’s political legitimacy.”

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