Harvard Kennedy School student Bo Guagua, son of deposed Chinese Communist Party leader Bo Xilai, addressed the media for the first time in weeks in an exclusive statement to The Crimson. The statement, published in full by The Crimson online on Tuesday, shied away from his father’s political downfall and the recent murder accusation against his mother and instead offered Bo Guagua’s perspective on the rampant speculation in the international media regarding his private life and personal endeavors.
He addressed claims made in the press about his grades, his social life, and even the make of car that he drives.
“Recently, there has been increasing attention from the press on my private life,” he wrote. “As a result of these speculations, I feel responsible to the public to provide an account of the facts.”
Officials removed Bo’s father from his position as Party secretary of China’s Chongqing municipality in March and then ousted him from the Politburo—China’s most influential political body—the following month. Though Chinese officials did not disclose a reason for Bo Xilai’s removal, allegations of corruption and overextension of power have swirled against him for months.
In his statement on Tuesday, Bo addressed accusations that he lives a lavish lifestyle beyond the means of a government salary. He wrote that his private school education had been funded entirely by scholarships and assistance from his mother. He also denied media reports that he drove a Ferrari.
Much of his statement countered media reports of his supposedly poor academic performance and accusations that he was not qualified for admission to the Kennedy School.
“My examination records have been solid throughout my schooling years,” Bo defended himself, claiming a straight-A record on his AS and A-level exams in secondary school in the United Kingdom.
He also said that he ended his undergraduate career at Oxford University with the highest mark of distinction in philosophy awarded to degree recipients.
Bo, who also spoke to The Crimson in a phone conversation, wrote in an email that he remains enrolled at the Kennedy School and intends to complete the requirements to receive his degree. He declined to specify his current location or respond to queries about whether he intends to return to China after graduating.
Bo remained quiet on questions surrounding his parents and the political situation in China.
“I am deeply concerned about the events surrounding my family, but I have no comments to make regarding the ongoing investigation,” he wrote in his statement.
The statement made no mention of Neil Heywood, the British businessman whose murder last fall has been much discussed in connection with Bo since his mother was charged with the crime earlier this month.
Heywood, who had long lived in China before his death, has been said to have helped Bo gain admission to Harrow School—a prestigious English secondary school—and later to Oxford.
According to a Daily Mail report, Chinese authorities said that the family’s relationship with Heywood soured following “a conflict over economic interests.”
While he was a student in England, Bo’s behavior came under scrutiny as reporters examined rumors of his father’s corruption. Many questioned how the family could afford to underwrite their son’s private education and allegedly glamorous social life.
In his statement on Tuesday, Bo expressed graditude to the Harvard community for its support as he has avoided the intense gaze of the media in recent weeks.
—Staff writer Hana N. Rouse can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
—Staff writer Justin C. Worland can be reached at email@example.com.