Editor's note: This is the third in a series of articles on the children of high-ranking Communist Party leaders. This series will appear on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.
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The leafy suburban campus of Oxford University came under heavy security several years ago.
One official of the prestigious university doesn’t remember the exact date but distinctly recalls it occurred after Bo Guagua, the son of then Chinese political heavyweight Bo Xilai, enrolled in 2006.
The Oxford official also remembers that the reason for the strict security was a visit by a Chinese government official.
The Chinese government official asked a senior executive of the university to instruct its Chinese students to work harder, according to a university staff member.
But several British media have reported that the Chinese official also relayed the resentment of Bo Guagua’s father and grandfather about the university’s decision to make the son take penal exams for failing to maintain his grades.
At that time, Bo Guagua was facing the possibility of having to repeat the school year.
The British media suspect the Chinese government official tried to put pressure on the university to allow Bo Guagua to move up to the next grade by visiting Oxford under the instructions of his father, who was China’s commerce minister at the time, and grandfather, Bo Yibo, a party luminary.
Bo Guagua became known among the Chinese community in Britain when he was held back in 2009. Soon thereafter, he appeared on a popular talk show of Hong Kong-based Phoenix TV, saying he had delayed taking graduation exams by one year to write a thesis on political philosophy.
The TV program described Bo Guagua as a young student showing outstanding academic performances at the highest institution of learning in Britain.
Bo Guagua graduated from Oxford in 2010. Before his graduation, he requested a letter of recommendation for enrollment in the graduate school of Harvard University, but his request was rejected, according to university officials.
Since the university counts on donations from graduates after their successes in life, declining such a request was unprecedented, an Oxford official says.
Wu Lvnan, a 60-year-old Hong Kong native widely known in the Chinese community in Britain, has a dim view of children of top party and government officials.
Wu, who has been decorated by the British government for his many years of volunteer work, says he is disgusted with the way these so-called princelings behave in Britain.
They seldom, if ever, take part in events and charity activities of the Chinese society in the country but are in frequent contact with staff members of the Chinese Embassy in London, says Wu, who came to live in Britain from the former British colony 22 years ago.
Children of senior officials cling together in small groups and share secrets with each other, Wu says. And instead of studying, they indulge in extravagant entertainment at luxury joints and casinos, he complains.
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