|Born||17 December 1987|
|Other names||Bo Jinggua, 薄京瓜, Bo Guagua, 薄瓜瓜|
|Alma mater||Balliol College, Oxford
Columbia University Law School
Bo Kuangyi, known since early childhood by the nickname Bo Guagua, born 17 December 1987, is the second son of former Chinese politician Bo Xilai, and the only child of Gu Kailai, his father's second wife. His half brother is Li Wangzhi. Bo was the first mainland Chinese citizen to attend Harrow School in England, and he later attended the Oxford University and Harvard University. Bo is listed[where?] as a manager of the Guagua Internet Company. He is currently enrolled in the JD program at Columbia University Law School.
Because his father was a Chinese Communist Party leader, Bo Guagua's alleged lavish lifestyle has been an occasional topic of news media gossip, which intensified and gained considerable international attention when his father was removed from office in March 2012. Both his parents came under investigation in the alleged homicide of family friend Neil Heywood, who also reportedly helped Bo during his time in the UK.
Bo's father, Bo Xilai, was a high-profile Communist Party official until his removal from office in 2012. The elder Bo had been part of the 25-member Politburo, and was widely seen as a contender to join the nine-member Politburo Standing Committee. His paternal grandfather, Bo Yibo, was a prominent revolutionary leader and one of the Eight Elders of the Communist Party of China.
Bo's mother, Gu Kailai, is a lawyer who also hailed from a prominent family. Gu's father, Gu Jingsheng, was a Communist revolutionary. Her mother Fan Chengxiu is a descendant of the renowned Song Dynasty prime minister and poet Fan Zhongyan. In the course of her career, she was involved in several notable cases. Gu is reportedly the first Chinese lawyer to win a civil suit in the United States, and she is also the author of several books. Gu is the second wife of Bo Xilai. The two met in 1984 in Liaoning Province, where Bo was serving as Communist Party secretary for Jin county.
Life in the UK
At the age of 12, Bo began studying at Papplewick School in England. Reportedly with the help of Neil Heywood, he was then admitted to Harrow School. Bo was the first Chinese citizen to attend the school where, according to Bo, he scored straight-As at his AS and A-level exams.
Bo attended Balliol College, Oxford, where he studied Philosophy, Politics and Economics. Bo had an active social life and in his second year he ran unsuccessfully for a prominent position in the Oxford Union, a debating society, but Bo claimed in an open letter that he was "the first mainland Chinese student to be elected to the Standing Committee of the Oxford Union. During his time at Oxford, Bo was featured in the Chinese edition of Esquire.
Media reported that Bo struggled in his academic work, and was required to sit further exams to maintain his grades. According to classmates, Bo failed the exams, and was "rusticated" (suspended) for one year. Three Chinese diplomats went to see Dr Andrew Graham, the Master of Balliol College, and sought to have the rustication revoked, explaining that Bo's academic probation would be a source of embarrassment to his father and grandfather in China. The request to reinstate Bo was denied. However, according to Bo, he enrolled in all three "major" subjects, unlike most of his peers. The following year, Bo achieved "respectable marks" during his final exams, according to the New York Times, and passed with a 2:1 degree (Upper Second Class Honours) overall, having obtained First Class honours in Philosophy. This notwithstanding, the New York Times asserted that Bo's tutors declined to provide him with recommendations for his application to Harvard.
Bo was described as living a lavish lifestyle while at Oxford. After being suspended from college at Oxford, Bo reportedly lived in a luxury flat at the Randolph Hotel. A front-page Wall Street Journal story alleged that Bo was seen stepping out of a red Ferrari wearing a tuxedo in early 2011 at the residence of then-U.S. ambassador Jon Huntsman, Jr.. This anecdote was later challenged by the New York Times, which reported that Huntsman's daughter had been picked up by the function's organisers, while Bo had arrived at the function in a chauffeur-driven Audi, and was not wearing a tuxedo. Bo organised trips to China for his classmates, and invited Jackie Chan to appear at a function at Oxford.
Bo's university directory page with Oxford describes him as the founder of the Guagua Internet Company (other sources, such as the New York Times, describe him as the company's manager). In his letter published in the Harvard University student paper, Bo states that he had been involved "in developing a not-for-profit social networking website in China … to assist NGOs in raising awareness of their social missions and connecting with volunteers... The project remains in the development stage and is not live."
Life in the USA
He was ultimately admitted to the Masters program in public policy at its Kennedy School of Government. He graduated from the Kennedy School in May 2012. He enrolled in Columbia Law School beginning Fall 2013.
Education funding controversies
After his father was stripped of all official titles by the Communist Party of China, there was much public speculation about how he was able to go to private schools in the UK and USA on his father's meagre salary of $20,000 per year. The private Harrow School he attended costs $48,000/year; then Oxford University's tuition alone costs about $25,000/year; Harvard University's Kennedy School requires about $70,000 a year for both tuition and living expenses.
The Wall Street Journal reported that he is living at a luxury apartment which costs about $2590/month in Cambridge, Massachusetts that has a 24-hour concierge service and a sun deck. He is also reported to drive a $80,000 black Porsche sports car, having collected violations for running stop signs in December 2010 and May 2011, and for speeding in February 2012.
On 24 April 2012, Harvard University school newspaper, The Harvard Crimson, published a statement by Bo, in which he stated that his tuition and living expenses were "funded exclusively by two sources—scholarships earned independently, and my mother's generosity from the savings she earned from her years as a successful lawyer and writer." He denied that he had ever driven a Ferrari. On the other hand, his father told the Chinese news media that his son was on full scholarship and his wife was a successful lawyer, but she was afraid of people spreading rumors, so she closed down her law office a long time ago.
At the trial of Bo Xilai that started on 22 August 2013, businessman Xu Ming testified that he paid for Bo Guagua's travel and credit card bills, although during cross-examination Bo Xilai challenged many of the payments.
Bo's lifestyle has been a subject of gossip and public interest, both internationally and within China. Bo's lifestyle has been critically contrasted to his father's efforts to revive a "red culture" movement in Chongqing, which included the singing of revolutionary songs and promotion of Maoist slogans. The conspicuous consumption and privilege of the children of Chinese leaders, including, though not limited to, Bo Guagua, is a source of widespread resentment within China. Unlike some children of party leaders, who maintain a low profile, such as Xi Jinping's daughter Xi Mingze, Bo cultivated an unusually public persona. When Bo Xilai was suspended from his party positions, party leaders listed the younger Bo's behavior as one of the causes.
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- Mosettig, Michael D. (7 November 2012 at 2:15 p.m. ET). "Red Ferraris in Red China". PBS NewsHour. Retrieved 7 November 2012.