Chinese politician axed from top job

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iol news pic bo xilai AP File picture of former Chinese Commerce Minister Bo Xilai. Photo: AP/ Ed Wray

Chinese politician Bo Xilai, who had once been tipped to access the top echelons of power before becoming embroiled in a scandal, has been suspended from the Communist Party's powerful Politburo.

The official Xinhua news agency announced his suspension from the 25-member Politburo late on Tuesday due to suspected “serious discipline violations”, which usually refers to issues of corruption.

Bo was last month sacked as party head of the southwestern metropolis of Chongqing after his former police chief Wang Lijun fled to a US consulate and reportedly asked for asylum in a rare, public scandal.

But his suspension from the Politburo effectively ends the political career of the one-time high-flyer who had previously been tipped to access the party's Standing Committee - the apex of political power in China - later this year.

Analysts say that Bo's fall from grace has exposed deep rifts within the party ahead of a key, once-in-a-decade leadership transition due to take place in the autumn.

The brief Xinhua report stated that the party's Central Committee, which consists of more than 300 top Chinese politicians, had decided to suspend “Comrade Bo Xilai” from the Politburo.

It gave no other details, but a separate Xinhua dispatch said Bo's wife was being investigated for the suspected homicide of a British national called Neil Heywood, who died in Chongqing last November. - Sapa-AFP

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