Bo Xilai supporters set up Zhi Xian Party in China
Supporters of Chinese politician Bo Xilai have set up a political party, and made Bo the party chairman.
Wang Zheng said she was inspired to set up the Zhi Xian Party after following Bo Xilai’s trial.
It is a highly unusual move in China, where the ruling Communist Party retains a monopoly on power.
Bo Xilai, the former Chongqing Party chief, was given a life sentence in September for corruption and abuse of power.
Wang Zheng, a university professor, said her party would act in a similar manner to a special interest group, calling for the Chinese constitution to be upheld and for income inequality to be tackled.
“The goal of the party is to guard the constitution,” Wang Zheng said.
“In the past, for so many years, the ruling party has often done things that are against the constitution.”
Wang Zheng said the party was inspired by Bo Xilai’s work to help the poor as Chongqing party chief.
“In recent decades, China’s reform methods were against the constitution” as the political system had allowed the gap between the rich and the poor to increase, she said.
She added that what she was doing was consistent with Chinese law.
“The Communist Party is the ruling party. According to the constitution, the nation is led by the Communist Party that co-operates with the other parties, and we are one of the participating parties.”
Wang Zheng said there had been an overwhelmingly positive response to her party, but did not reveal the size of her party’s membership.
The party has named Bo Xilai its honorary chairman, although it is unclear whether Bo has agreed to any association with the group.
The Zhi Xian Party translates into “The Supremacy of the Constitution” Party in Chinese.
Wang Zheng is already facing a backlash by the government for her actions, and her home is under police surveillance.
However, Wang Zheng said she was “not scared”.
“I have the confidence that what I am doing is not illegal and most of the people I am in touch with, including the security police, they are actually nice people,” she said.
China has jailed activists in the past for setting up political parties. Activist Qin Yongmin was jailed for 12 years in 1998 after trying to register the China Democracy Party.
Bo Xilai was removed from office in 2012 amid a scandal which saw his wife Gu Kailai convicted of British businessman Neil Heywood’s murder.
During his time in Chongqing, Bo Xilai was popular with the city’s poor and rural citizens for running a high-profile crackdown on crime and promoting China’s communist past, including the public singing of “red songs”.
In September Bo Xilai’s was found guilty of taking bribes amounting to 20 million yuan ($3.3 million) either personally or through his family. He was also accused of abusing his office by using his position to cover up for his wife’s crime.
Bo Xilai’s supporters, however, believe he is the victim of a political purge.
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