Politi­cian’s ouster tied to nepo­tism

The Washington Times Daily - - World -

BEI­JING | One of China’s high­est­pro­file politi­cians in­ter­fered in an in­ves­ti­ga­tion in­volv­ing a fam­ily mem­ber be­fore he was fired last week, ac­cord­ing to a leaked tran­script that has es­ca­lated what al­ready was the coun­try’s big­gest po­lit­i­cal scan­dal in years.

Bo Xi­lai’s re­moval as Com­mu­nist Party boss of Chongqing city ap­pears to have brought a stop to the ca­reer of one of the coun­try’s most am­bi­tious politi­cians.

The scan­dal has played out in an ex­cep­tion­ally public way — al­beit with few con­crete de­tails re­leased — and has fu­eled spec­u­la­tion that Mr. Bo’s ouster was linked to com­pe­ti­tion for top spots when a new gen­er­a­tion of na­tional lead­ers is in­stalled later this year.

The nepo­tism al­le­ga­tion against Mr. Bo is un­usual, partly be­cause such abuse of power is thought to be widely tol­er­ated among Chi­nese of­fi­cials. salvo in a dis­pute about con­di­tions at Afghan pris­ons that has been rag­ing since the United Na­tions first doc­u­mented tor­ture last year.

The dis­pute is likely to be­come even more im­por­tant as the U.S. moves to trans­fer its de­ten­tion op­er­a­tions to Afghan au­thor­i­ties in com­ing months.

NATO and U.S. forces stopped trans­fer­ring their bat­tle­field de­tainees to 16 Afghan pris­ons in July af­ter the U.N. found ev­i­dence of tor­ture at the fa­cil­i­ties.

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