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Conflict of party and private lifestyles

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James Reynolds | 09:45 UK time, Wednesday, 10 June 2009

China has no direct equivalent of Hello magazine - the celebrity magazine in the UK in which readers are invited to gaze at public figures doing everyday things at home such as clinking champagne glasses whilst lying on thick rugs.

As a result, we know almost nothing of the private lives of China's leaders. That means that there's huge amounts of interest here whenever anyone gets any kind of peek into the off-stage life of Communist Party politicians and their families. There's particular interest when someone's private lifestyle appears to conflict with the frugal existence officially preached by the party.

So, internet users here have been poring over photos of Bo Guagua - who's the son of the Politburo member Bo Xilai. Mr Bo jr is a student at Oxford University (a Chinese youth organisation recently named him one of the 10 most accomplished Chinese people living in the UK.)

Pictures posted on social networking sites appear to show Mr Bo jr enjoying all the standard (and occasionally archaic) pursuits available to a student at Oxford.

Some comments from Internet users...

"How come a modest civil servant in China has that much money to send his son to Oxford? I remain perplexed despite much thought."

"It's certainly good to be an official."

"Oh well, what can I say."


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