Bo's fate hangs in balance as princelings take over power

As the Chinese Communist Party unveiled its leadership change, speculation is rife about what the new leaders, mostly consisting of "princelings", plan to do with disgraced pro-Maoist leader Bo Xilai, himself a hereditary Communist hailing from an influential family.

Bo's case picked up momentum in the run up to the just concluded 18th Communist Party Congress with Party's top body endorsing his expulsion after completion of all probes.

Speculation was rife earlier that he, like his wife Gu Kailai and his fellow officials, would be tried and sentenced but his case became dormant in the heat of the new leadership selection culminating in triumph of 86-year-old former President Jiang Zemin, whose loyalists emerged triumphant against outgoing President Hu Jintao's proteges.

Analysts say the triumph of princeligns in the new order holds some hope for Bo, who is himself the son of a former Vice Premier, like new leader Xi Jinping.

Coincidentally, both hail from liberal families and their parents suffered during Mao Zedong's Cultural Revolution.

Majority of the seven member Standing Committee headed by Xi hailed from influential and well connected Party families, raising a glimmer of hope for Bo, who faced a host of charges, including sex, sleaze, corruption and attempts to cover up

Gu's role in the murder of a British businessman Neil Heywood.

Gu, a princeling herself, was spared death as she was given a suspended death sentence despite admitting administering poison to Heywood, leading to his death.

Ironically Bo, who cultivated the image of a Mao's follower, was also a contender for the Seven Member Standing Committee apparently heading the left-wing faction of the Party.

Observers say with the leadership process over, attention was expected to turn on to his case again with a question mark over his fate.

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