Bo Xilai charged with bribery, corruption

PHILIP WEN
Last updated 16:07 25/07/2013
Bo Xilai
Reuters
Bo Xilai is involved in one of China's ugliest scandals in decades.

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Fallen political star Bo Xilai has been formally charged with bribery, corruption and abuse of power, more than a year after he was stood down as Chongqing's party chief over the scandal stemming from the murder of British businessman Neil Heywood.

Official news agency Xinhua said prosecutors in the eastern city of Jinan in Shandong province had indicted Mr Bo on Thursday, confirming mounting speculation that his trial was drawing near.

That speculation arose from an internal document circulating in Chongqing, which outlined charges of Mr Bo receiving millions of yuan of bribes via his wife, Gu Kailai.

The trial will take place in Jinan's Intermediate People's Court. A date has yet to be set, but numerous reports indicate it will be held within the next month, and as soon as next week.

"The trial will be open anytime within the next two months," Li Xiaolin, a lawyer with close ties to Gu Kailai, told Fairfax Media.

Bo was removed in March last year from his senior post as party chief of Chongqing, a municipality of 30 million in southwest China. He was later expelled from the Communist Party and its elite 25-member Politburo.

The government in September last year accused Mr Bo of corruption and of bending the law to hush up the murder.

Bo's wife Gu Kailai was given a suspended death sentence for murdering Mr Heywood, a long-time associate of the Bo family.

The case came to light when Mr Bo's former police chief Wang Lijun dramatically fled to the US consulate in Chengdu.

Like those of his wife, Bo's upcoming trial is widely expected to be no more than a show trial, in which a verdict has already been painstakingly negotiated by Communist Party leaders.

He is expected to receive at least between 15 to 20 years jail, and possibly a suspended death sentence.

Bo is the first Politburo member to be tried on criminal charges since 2008, when former Shanghai party boss Chen Liangyu was sentenced to 18 years jail for corruption.

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- Sydney Morning Herald

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