Bo Xilai, a former Chongqing party chief, who was serving a life sentence for corruption and abuse of power has been granted medical parole following a diagnosis of liver cancer.
Bo was transferred to a medical facility on Bangchui island near Dalian, the northeastern port city where he once held a top party job.
According to a source cited by Radio Free Asia, Bo was diagnosed with liver cancer by doctors in Beijing’s Qincheng Prison earlier this year. The same source said that the cancer is in a fairly early stage.
A Beijing-based academic said that the standard of medical care offered to a former high-ranking official like Bo in China’s Qincheng prison would be “excellent.”
Bo’s transfer happens after dissident Liu Xiabo was granted medical parole after being diagnosed with late-stage, inoperable liver cancer. Liu was transferred to a Liaoning hospital.
“They all receive a certain standard of treatment in Qincheng, which is far better [than that available to Liu],” the academic said. “It is very good indeed.”
Bo’s dismissal from office in March 2012 came after an embarrassing February 6 visit to the U.S. consulate in Chengdu by his former chief of police and right-hand man Wang Lijun. Wang fled to the U.S. consulate in Chengdu after a falling out with Bo after which Wang informed him of an investigation being conducted into the Bo family.
Anhui-based former state prosecutor Shen Liangqing said that there is no comparison between Liu’s peaceful advocacy of democratic, constitutional government and Bo’s activities in Dalian and Chongqing.
“Bo Xilai has committed very major crimes, including the purges of so many people during his ‘revolutionary songs and anti-mafia’ campaigns in Chongqing,” Shen said. “He used absolutely cruel and horrific methods.”
Bo’s tenure in Chongqing saw reports of forced confessions and rights abuses during campaigns which at the time won political praise for Bo and his then chief of police Wang.
Bo was famed for “strike black, sing red” campaigns during his tenure in the city as pensioners gathered daily to sing Mao Zedong-era anthems.
Li Zhuang, a whistle-blowing lawyer, said that many of those convicted in Chongqing at the height of Bo’s anti-mafia campaign were targeted purely for their wealth.
Li said that Bo and Wang ran a terror campaign which, while it did arrest some criminal bosses, also targeted innocent businessmen with the aim of taking over their assets.
Bo was later sentenced to prison in September 2013 for corruption and abuse of power, a month after his wife Gu Kailai was handed a suspended death sentence for the murder of British businessman, Neil Heywood.
The murder is regarded by the New York Times as the “most spectacular and closely watched” murder scandal in the Communist Party’s post- Mao history. MDT/Agencies