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Bo Guagua defends himself against 'party boy' allegations

By Peter Shadbolt, CNN
updated 11:27 PM EDT, Wed April 25, 2012
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Bo Guagua issues a statement in The Harvard Crimson defending his record
  • Son of Bo Xilai answers charges he did poorly academically at school and university
  • He denies his connections gained him places at some of the world's most elite colleges
  • Also denies he had driven a red Ferrari, part of allegations he led a lavish college lifestyle

(CNN) -- Bo Guagua, the son of embattled Chinese Communist cadre Bo Xilai, has issued a statement defending his actions and his academic record following allegations his college "party boy" image had contributed to his father's fall from grace.

In a statement posted on The Harvard Crimson -- the Website for the daily newspaper at Harvard University where Bo, 24, is a graduate student -- he said he wanted to answer some of the charges leveled against him; among them that he did poorly academically, that he entered prestigious colleges because of his connections and that he drove a red Ferrari to pick up a date.

But he was reluctant to comment on his father, who has been stripped of his political posts, and his mother, Gu Kailai, who is in custody as a murder suspect in the death of British businessman Neil Heywood.

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"I am deeply concerned about the events surrounding my family, but I have no comments to make regarding the ongoing investigation," he said.

The president of The Harvard Crimson Ben Samuels told CNN he was confident the statement was genuine, adding that its website was crashing because its server was overloaded. He said he presumed the server was struggling due to traffic from China and had not been hacked.

In the statement, which was laid out in a series of bullet points, Bo denied rumors his connections had gained him places at some of the world's most exclusive schools.

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"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," he said.

Bo also defended his academic record, saying that he had gained straight As in his school A-level exams when he was 18 and gained a 2:1 (second class, first honors) in Politics, Philosophy and Economics at Oxford University in England. He added that he had achieved a First in the Philosophy component of the degree.

Photographs of a bare-chested Bo at college balls had presented a "party boy" image, but he defended his attendance at the functions as a normal part of college life.

"During my time at Oxford, it is true that I participated in 'Bops,' a type of common Oxford social event, many of which are themed," he said. "These events are a regular feature of social life at Oxford and most students take part in these college-wide activities."

He added that he had been involved in a not-for-profit social networking site in China aimed at assisting "NGOs in raising awareness of their social missions" and connecting with volunteers.

"I have never lent my name to nor participated in any for-profit business or venture, in China or abroad," he added.

Another widely reported story alluding to a lavish lifestyle suggested Bo had once arrived at the U.S. Ambassador's residence in Beijing in a red Ferrari to pick up a daughter of Jon Huntsman, the ambassador at the time, for a dinner date.

"I have never driven a Ferrari. I have also not been to the U.S. Embassy in Beijing since 1998 (when I obtained a previous U.S. visa), nor have I ever been to the U.S. Ambassador's Residence in China," Bo said in the statement.

"Even my student visas were issued by the U.S. Consulate in Chengdu, which is closer to my home of five years."

Bo ended with an appeal to the media.

"I understand that at the present, the public interest in my life has not diminished. However, I wholeheartedly request that members of the press kindly refrain from intruding into the lives of my teachers, friends and classmates," he said.

Rumors over his allegedly flamboyant college lifestyle have played poorly in China where his father, the former Chongqing kingpin, promoted a revival of Maoist-style "red culture," while pursuing a widely publicized -- but brutal -- crackdown on organized crime in the city.

One family associate told CNN recently there was little sympathy in China for what many regard as the typically spoiled offspring of the Communist Party elite.

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