Reputedly sporting a chest-length protest beard, Bo Xilai, a former up-and-comer in the Chinese Communist Party, is reportedly not cooperating with authorities investigating him for corruption and his role in the November 2011 murder of a British business executive.
Bo’s whereabouts are unknown.
"He wouldn't answer questions and slammed his fist on a table and told them they were not qualified to question him and to go away,” a source told Reuters.
The disgraced former Communist Party chief from Chongqing, 1,000 miles west of Shanghai, has not been seen publicly since March. It’s not likely anything will be announced before the completion of the transition of power to Xi Jinping next month.
The government – ever wary of political instability – has been mum about any charges filed against him.
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Bo is accused of abuse of power and could be charged as an accomplice to the killing of Neil Heywood, a 41-year-old UK-China business consultant. Bo’s wife Gu Kailai is serving time after being found guilty of poisoning Heywood.
Chongqing vice-mayor and head of public security Wang Lijun was sentenced in September for abuse of power and bribe taking after he unsuccessfully sought refuge at the British Consulate in nearby Guangzhou with accusations that Bo’s wife had murdered the British national.
Two weeks after Wang’s accusation, Bo was forced to step down and was later arrested. An upcoming book about the Heywood killing claims that Wang had sought political asylum on one previous occasion but was kicked out, according to the Telegraph. At least 10 other Chongqing officials have been sacked as a result of the added scrutiny to Bo’s administration, the Guardian reported recently. A tape made headlines in November showing a 54-year-old district party chief having sex with an 18-year-old woman.
The case has captivated a Chinese public unaccustomed to such public displays of political scandal so close to the party’s cabal of dark-suited elites. Bo is the son of one of China’s early prominent Communist Party leaders Bo Yibo, who spent his final years being tortured in prison as a counterrevolutionary during the Cultural Revolution.
Bo, 63, reportedly claims he is being mistreated and in protest has refused to shave. One source, speaking to Reuters, said Bo has held two hunger strikes, was force-fed on one occasion, and is suffering from some undisclosed poor health condition.