Son’s Parties and Privilege Aggravate Fall of Elite Chinese Family

“If you’re discreet, they look the other way,” the former government employee said. “But Guagua’s behavior was striking by the standards; urinating against a fence at Oxford, kissing foreign girls — it all goes down bad in China.”

Bo Guagua, a Harvard student, in Cambridge, Mass. Some of his friends say he is an indifferent student, but one professor called him “a smart lad.”

As the grandson of revolutionary giants, Bo Guagua enjoyed the prestige and privilege that accompanies membership in China’s “red aristocracy.”

After a pampered childhood in the walled compounds of the Chinese capital, he was sent off for schooling in England, where he developed a reputation as an academically indifferent bon vivant with a weakness for European sports cars, first-class air travel, equestrian sports and the tango.

Mr. Bo’s flamboyance, a staple of social-media gossip in China in recent years, became another liability for his father, Bo Xilai, who faces charges of corruption and abuse of power, and his mother, Gu Kailai, accused of murdering a British businessman who was also close to the young Mr. Bo.

Although Communist Party insiders say it was Bo Xilai’s populist reign in the southwestern municipality of Chongqing that ultimately brought him down, Bo Guagua’s high living clearly irritated party leaders, who named the son, a 24-year-old student at Harvard, in the official statement describing the reasons for his father’s fall from power.


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