Bo Xilai, the charismatic former Communist Party chief in the Chinese city of Chongqing, has been stripped of his remaining leadership roles for "violations of party discipline" and his wife has been detained on suspicion of murdering a British businessman, state-run media reported Tuesday.
Bo's ouster last month as party secretary for Chongqing unleashed one of the most high-profile political shakeups in China since the crushing of pro-democracy demonstrations at Tiananmen Square in 1989.
China's CCTV reported that Bo has been suspended from his posts on the party Central Committee and the 25-member Politburo and that his case has been handed over to a disciplinary inspection commission for investigation.
In a separate dispatch from the official New China News Agency, it was announced that Bo's wife, Gu Kailai, has been "highly suspected" in the Nov. 15 death of British businessman Neil Heywood.
The news agency reported that Bo's wife and their housekeeper, Zhang Xiaojun, had been taken into custody after a reinvestigation of Heywood's death led authorities to suspect them of "intentional homicide." The report gave no further details of the case or how investigators came to suspect Bo's wife.
Bo, the son of Communist Party founder Bo Yibo, had been considered a contender for the top leadership in China for his revolutionary zeal and inspirational powers in his populous southwest municipality. He was sacked as Chongqing party leader on March 15. The move was seen as censure after a longtime ally and former police chief, Wang Lijun, sought temporary refuge at a U.S. consulate in February.
-- Carol J. Williams in Los Angeles
Photo: Bo Xilai, front, then Communist Party chief in the Chinese city of Chongqing, at the closing session of the People's Political Consultative Conference in Beijing on March 13. Credit: Alexander F. Yuan / Associated Press