Son of Chinese leader Bo Xilai breaks his silence
The son of toppled Chinese leader Bo Xilai and murder suspect Gu Kailai has broken his silence, insisting scholarships and family savings paid for his expensive education, according to his university newspaper.
Bo Guagua also denied being involved in business and said he had never driven a Ferrari - one of the claims that has fuelled his playboy image.
The 24-year-old did not comment directly on the investigations into his parents, saying only that he was "deeply concerned". His mother, Gu, has been detained on suspicion of murdering British businessman Neil Heywood, who is believed to have helped arrange Bo Guagua's education at Harrow. His father is accused of severe disciplinary violations.
Eyebrows were raised at the "princeling's" lifestyle even before his father was ousted. He was rusticated for a year due to his poor academic performance at Oxford and many wondered how the family found the money for his education - Papplewick and Harrow and then university - on a modest official's salary.
"My tuition and living expenses at Harrow School, University of Oxford and Harvard University were funded exclusively by two sources — scholarships earned independently, and my mother's generosity from the savings she earned from her years as a successful lawyer and writer," Bo, now a student at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, wrote in a statement published by the Harvard Crimson.
He did not give any indication of the source of those scholarships, and his educational institutions have so far refused to comment.
Gu was once a high-profile lawyer, but Bo Xilai said in a press conference days before his political demise that she sacrificed her career for his sake around 20 years ago and was a housewife.
Others have suggested she retained significant financial interests and Chinese authorities said Heywood's death followed a conflict over unspecified economic interests.
The wider Bo and Gu families have also been heavily involved in business, with Bloomberg tallying a fortune of at least $136m.
Bo Guagua had appeared to be dipping his toe into the water with a social networking site.
He wrote in his statement: "I have never lent my name to nor participated in any for-profit business or venture, in China or abroad. However, I have been involved in developing a not-for-profit social networking website in China, the aim of which is to assist NGOs in raising awareness of their social missions and connecting with volunteers ... The project remains in the development stage and is not live."
He defended his academic record and said his extra-curricular activities at Oxford - such as involvement with the Union - "enabled me to broaden my perspective, serve the student community, and experience all that Oxford has to offer".
Last year, a Wall Street Journal article described Bo arriving at the residence of the then US ambassador Jon Huntsman in a red Ferrari.
Bo wrote: "I have never driven a Ferrari. I have also not been to the US embassy in Beijing since 1998 ... nor have I ever been to the US ambassador's residence in China."
The Harvard Crimson said Bo sent the statement after corresponding with its writers via his Kennedy School and Googlemail accounts. He did not respond to Guardian requests for comment.
Separately, the Daily Telegraph reported on Wednesday that the police chief whose flight to a US consulate triggered the scandal had claimed Gu confessed to Heywood's murder with the words: "I did it."
Wang Lijun - Bo Xilai's former ally and police chief - told diplomats at the consulate in Chengdu that Heywood was held down and forced to drink cyanide after attempting to spit out the poison, the paper said.Resources: Son of Chinese leader Bo Xilai breaks his silence
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