An uncertain legacy after fall from grace

An uncertain legacy after fall from grace

Beijing - The political career of Former Chongqing party boss Bo Xilai (above) is expected to be over regardless of the outcome of his trial.

A guilty verdict awaits him as the Communist Party controls the courts and has likely brokered a deal on his punishment. His sentence could range from death, which is highly unlikely, to at least 15 years' imprisonment.

But while the 64-year-old, who was tipped for a seat in the apex Politburo Standing Committee (PSC) before he was purged in March last year, has little chance of a political comeback, observers say Bo might yet live on in spirit: either as an inspiration to those aspiring to a more populist form of politics on the mainland, or as a cautionary tale of the excesses of power for others.

Analyst Kerry Brown of the University of Sydney says Bo may have become a trailblazer for future Chinese leaders.

"He brought a fresh style of politics to China that was different compared to other top leaders. He tried to speak directly to people," says the China watcher. "This style of politics will almost certainly become more common in the future. In that sense he was daring and an innovator."

Singapore-based analyst Bo Zhiyue believes Bo's influence will endure because of his ideas.

Many in China and even in the party see merits in his "Chongqing Model" - a big role for government and state-owned enterprises, a crackdown on mafia, and revival of Maoist culture - in the western municipality, says the East Asian Institute analyst.

"First, he promoted economic development and delivered outstanding growth. For the five years that he was there, Chongqing's economic growth ranked among the top in China," says Dr Bo, an expert on Chinese politics.

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