As his dad awaits trial, Bo Xilai’s son is heading to law school in the US

Bo Guagua and Bo Xilai in happier times.
Bo Guagua and Bo Xilai in happier times.
Image: Reuters
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It’s been a tough year for Bo Guagua. The son of disgraced Chongqing politician Bo Xilai has seen his mother convicted of murder, his father charged with corruption, and to top things off he was at the Boston Marathon finish line when the bombs went off. But his family’s travails have apparently not shaken his belief in the rule of law, judging by his enrollment at Columbia University’s law school.

As the Telegraph noted last year, attending law school in the United States will also shield Bo Guagua from the Chinese government, allowing him to extend his US student visa without having to apply for asylum.

The junior Bo has remained largely quiet during his parents’ downfalls, other than when he defended his father in a statement posted on Tumblr in 2012. That contrasts with his playboy image prior to Bo Xilai’s downfall: while attending school in England the New York Times reported that he was seen as an “academically indifferent bon vivant with a weakness for European sports cars, first-class air travel, equestrian sports and the tango.” During his time at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, Bo was repeatedly ticketed while driving a Porsche, much to the derision of Chinese social media.

Sending offspring to the United States for school is common among the Chinese elite. Li Wangzhi, Bo Xilai’s estranged eldest son, also attended Columbia for graduate school, and Xi Mingze, the daughter of Chinese president Xi Jinping, transferred to Harvard as an undergrad in May 2010, where she studies under a pseudonym. Let’s hope Bo Guagua and Xi Mingze don’t run into each other at what would certainly be a very awkward Ivy League mixer.