Bo Xilai (Pinyin: Bó Xīlái; born 3 July 1949) is a former Chinese politician. He came to prominence through his tenures as the mayor of the coastal economic hub of Dalian and then governor of Liaoning province. From 2004 to November 2007, he served as Minister of Commerce. Between 2007 and 2012 he served as a member of the Central Politburo and secretary of the Communist Party's Chongqing branch.
The son of Bo Yibo, one of the Eight Elders of the Communist Party of China, Bo Xilai is identified as one of the "princelings" of Chinese politics. He cultivated a casual and charismatic image in the media that marked a departure from the normally staid nature of Chinese politics.
In Chongqing, Bo became known for heavy-handed populism. He initiated a campaign against organized crime, increased spending on welfare programs, maintained consistent double-digit percentage GDP growth, and campaigned to revive Cultural Revolution-era "red culture". Bo's promotion of egalitarian values and the achievements of his "Chongqing model" made him the champion of the Chinese New Left, composed of both Maoists and social democrats disillusioned with the country's market-based economic reforms and increasing economic inequality. However, the perceived lawlessness of Bo's anti-corruption campaigns, coupled with concerns about his outsized personality, made him a controversial figure.
Bo was considered a likely candidate for promotion to the elite Politburo Standing Committee in CPC 18th National Congress in 2012. His political fortunes came to an abrupt end following the Wang Lijun incident, in which his top lieutenant and police chief sought asylum at the American consulate in Chengdu. In the fallout, Bo was removed as Chongqing party chief in March 2012 and suspended from the politburo the following month. Bo's dismissal was notable for exposing disunity within Communist Party ranks shortly before a leadership transition. He was later stripped of all his party positions, lost his seat at the National People's Congress, and was eventually expelled from the party.