Bo Guagua, grandson of hero Bo Yibo, criticized over freewheeling lifestyle

Updated: 05 Dec 2011
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Bo Guagua lives in the UK and is often criticized for his freewheeling lifestyle. (Internet Photo)
 
Earlier this year, Bo Guagua, grandson of Chinese communist revolutionary hero Bo Yibo, was seen stepping out of a red Ferrari pulling up to the US ambassador's residence in Beijing. It was reported that he had a dinner appointment with Mary Anne Huntsman, daughter of the then-ambassador Jon Huntsman.
 
After the news was reported by The Wall Street Journal, Bo Guagua, whose father is party secretary of Chongqing and a Politburo member Bo Xilai, was once again in the limelight. Bo Guagua is considered a member of China's new "Red Nobility," a term used to describe the privileged offspring of elite communist party members.
 
It is rumored Bo told his friends he would like to get his foot in the door of China's political circle, with his goal being to become the John F. Kennedy of China. Sources say he believes current Chinese leaders lack the charisma Kennedy had and that they are too rigid and old-fashioned. Bo wants to lead the party down a different route as a leader who will be idolized by China's more than 1 billion people. In addition, the sources said, he wants his wife to be as fashionable as Jackie Kennedy.
 
Bo also allegedly expressed that he doesn't like Chinese leaders deliberately pretending to be poor and staying low-key, saying wealth is not a sin. He wants to show off his fortune and will never apologize for his wealth, according to the rumors.
 
Born Dec. 17, 1987, Bo Guagua has been studying abroad since he was in junior high school. He was the first Chinese student to attend Harrow, one of Britain's most exclusive private schools. In 2006, when his father was China's commerce minister, Bo Guagua went to Oxford University to study philosophy, politics and economics. He claimed that he was on full scholarship since he was 16. Also at the age of 16, he published "Uncommonwealth," an antisocial thinking fashion portfolio.
 
In 2008, he was picked by English magazine Esquire as one of the five most fashionable young people in China. Bo is not only well-dressed but also good at soccer, fencing, equestrian, tango and street dancing, according to the magazine.
 
In the same year, Bo held a major culture event called "Silk Road" at Oxford, where he invited Jackie Chan to give a lecture, at one point singing with him on stage. He was highly praised for the event in a cover story by China's state-run Xinhua news agency.
 
The following year, Bo was honored in London by a group called the British Chinese Youth Federation as one of "Ten Outstanding Young Chinese Persons."
 
Bo Guagua's freewheeling lifestyle has caused controversy, with photos of him at Oxford social events — in one case bare-chested, other times in a tuxedo or fancy attire — widely circulated online. He was also seen traveling with ChenˇˇXiaodan, the granddaughter of revolutionary hero Chen Yun, with the protection of a police motorcade. The pictures provoked widespread discussion on Twitter and the Chinese microblog service Sina Weibo, not so much because both come from the party aristocracy, but because they received "special treatment" from the government during their tour of Tibet last summer.
 
Bo Guagua, who is still studying at Oxford, said during a 2009 speech at Peking University that he wanted to "serve the people" in culture and education, according to Chinese newspaper the Southern Weekend. Yet considering his flamboyant lifestyle, many conservatives in China may not be so welcoming to his "service."
 
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