Editor's note: This is the fourth of a series on Bo Xilai. This series will appear on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.
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DALIAN, China--Before becoming the powerful and feared secretary of the Chongqing municipal Communist Party committee, Bo Xilai was known as an approachable individual who came up with unusual ideas to help residents.
Jiang Weiping, for example, fondly recalls Bo’s pleasant smile when the two met in late 1984.
Bo was 35 at the time and was sent to serve as deputy secretary for Jin county in Liaoning province. Jin has now become part of Dalian.
Bo walked into the room, bowed and shook Jiang's hand with both hands, saying, "It is an honor to meet you 'laoshi.'" Laoshi is the term used in referring to teachers.
Jiang was a reporter for the Dalian Ribao, a daily newspaper that was the organ of the Dalian municipal Communist Party committee. Bo, learning that Jiang had come to see Bo's superior, approached the journalist and said, "I want to get to know you better."
Jiang, now 56, recalled his encounter from Canada, where he is living in exile.
Unlike other high-ranking local government officials, Bo was knowledgeable about various matters. He did not take on airs even though he was six years older than Jiang.
Bo also showed a generous side by giving Jiang copies of photos he took with a recently purchased Chinese-made twin-lens reflex camera.
He went about promoting a local village using ideas that would likely never occur to a typical local government official.
One idea came about when he visited Desheng, a poor farming village known for its livestock and fruit. Bo saw about 50 villagers in a brass band playing Western songs on their trumpets and flutes.
Music-lovers in the village had started the band as a hobby, and they pooled their money together to buy the instruments.
"What a dynamic and high-quality performance," Bo said to a subordinate at the time.
Bo immediately issued instructions for the county government to provide funds to the band. An expert was called from Beijing to offer guidance to band members.
Bo used the personal connections of his father, Bo Yibo, who was once Chinese vice premier, to sell the brass band to the Ministry of Culture and movie companies.
A documentary about the band won the 1986 Golden Rooster special prize in a film festival that has been called China's Academy Awards.
Under the banner of the "first farmers' brass band in China," the group became famous throughout the country, and even performed in Japan. The band eventually began playing for foreign leaders.
In local media interviews, Bo took credit for his efforts to publicize the band, saying: "A band that was born in a farming village has grown into one that has come to move the world. It shows that Chinese peasants are not foolish or ignorant."
Those who have known Bo for many years feel he never forgot his success in Desheng. He may have tried to emulate that effort more than two decades later after he rose to secretary of the Chongqing municipal Communist Party committee.
He started another campaign involving music, but in Chongqing, it became a movement to sing stirring revolutionary songs that were popular when Mao Tse-tung ruled.
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The first, second and third installments of this series are available at:
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