The son of Bo Xilai, the disgraced Chinese politician, has spoken out for the first time since his father’s removal from China’s leadership and mother’s arrest for murder.
In a statement published by the student newspaper at Harvard University, where he was studying, Bo Guagua expressed deep concern for his parents and responded to reports about his lavish lifestyle and questions over who funded his overseas schooling.
His mother, Gu Kailai, has been detained on suspicion of murdering a British businessman, while his father Bo Xilai has been stripped of his Communist Party Politburo seat and placed under investigation for disciplinary violations.
Bo Guagua, 24, said he felt compelled to provide “an account of the facts” to deny speculation about his private and family life.
“I am deeply concerned about the events surrounding my family, but I have no comments to make regarding the ongoing investigation,” said Bo, whose whereabouts are unclear following reports he left his Harvard apartment within days of his father’s downfall.
The scandal, seen as the biggest crisis to shake China’s leadership in two decades, unfolded in early February after Wang Lijun, the police chief of Chongqing in south west China, entered the US Consulate in nearby Chengdu.
According to British officials, he made allegations while in the consulate about the suspicious death of Briton Neil Heywood, a close associate of Gu who is now in custody for his murder.
Bo Xilai was the party boss of Chongqing at the time with ambitions to ascend to China’s top leadership later this year.
Even before his parents’ troubles, Bo Guagua had become the subject of gossip in China for his elite schooling and perceived extravagance.
Media reported his fondness for luxury cars, and raised questions about how the family could afford to send him to some of the world’s top schools and universities, including Harrow, Oxford and Harvard, on his father’s limited state salary.
Bo Guagua said it was impossible to address all the rumours and allegations made about him but, he would zero in on the “most pertinent”. He sought to dampen speculation over financial improprieties involving his tuition fees.
“My tuition and living expenses at Harrow School, University of Oxford and Harvard University 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 said.