A POLITICAL GAME
Previously a commerce minister who favored sleek suits and expensive-looking ties, Bo arrived in Chongqing in 2007, and transformed himself into a combative advocate of populist welfare policies that appealed to many Chinese people as a cure to social divisions and discontent brought by unfettered growth.
Bo, 63, and his then police chief, Wang Lijun, also won nationwide admiration for an uncompromising crackdown on organized crime, which their critics said was a thinly veiled effort to purge enemies and confiscate wealth.
Bo's policies and brash self-promotion, however, stirred unease among some officials, including premier Wen Jiabao. A day before Bo's ousting in March, Wen accused him of flirting with the discredited ways of Mao Zedong's era.
Criticism of Bo was largely confined to the margins of political life until February of this year, when Wang fled into a United States consulate for over 24 hours, exposing allegations that Bo's wife, Gu Kailai, had in November murdered Neil Heywood, a British businessman who was once a friend, after a financial dispute.
In August, Gu was given a suspended death sentence, which effectively means a long jail term, after being found guilty of poisoning Heywood to death.
On September 24, former police chief Wang was sentenced to 15 years in jail for his crimes, including his defection and seeking to hush up the murder case that implicated Gu.
The latest party statement on the case said that in the murder scandal, Bo "abused his powers of office", a charge that appears to reflect accusations from Wang's trial suggesting Bo tried to stymie a police investigation. The government also accused Bo of taking huge bribes and other unspecified crimes.
Before Bo is charged and tried, investigators must complete an inquiry and decide to indict him. China's prosecutors and courts come under party control, and are most unlikely to challenge the accusations already leveled.
Still, in Chongqing, some said the inevitable guilty verdict against Bo was about politics, not justice for Heywood.
"They're only picking on him as he was too good at his job and too good at being a politician, and that made people in Beijing jealous," said Yang Chun, who works in a Chongqing nightclub. "It's all about politics. He did much for Chongqing and we are very grateful."