Bo Xilai indicted on corruption charges

By Liu Sha Source:Global Times Published: 2013-7-26 0:53:01

Women look at the Jinan City Intermediate People's Court reflected in a bus window in Jinan, East China's Shandong Province on Thursday, where former Chongqing Party chief <a href=Bo Xilai was indicted and his case is expected to be heard. Photo: AFP" src="" />

Women look at the Jinan City Intermediate People's Court reflected in a bus window in Jinan, East China's Shandong Province on Thursday, where former Chongqing Party chief Bo Xilai was indicted and his case is expected to be heard. Photo: AFP

Read more in Global Times Daily Special: Bo Xilai charged with bribery, power abuse

Former Chongqing Party chief Bo Xilai was charged with bribe-taking, embezzlement and abuse of power on Thursday, marking what may be the final chapter in a high-profile case that has been lingering for over a year.

Bo's indictment was delivered to the Jinan City Intermediate People's Court in East China's Shandong Province on Thursday, Xinhua reported.

Xinhua quoted the indictment as saying that Bo took advantage of his position to seek profits and accepted an "extremely large amount" of money and properties.

The document also accused him of embezzling a large amount of public money and abusing his power, which seriously harmed the interests of the State and people.

Bo has been informed of his legal rights and interviewed by prosecutors. His defending counsel also delivered their opinions, the prosecutors said, Xinhua reported.

The exact amount of money Bo allegedly took or embezzled has not yet been revealed.

A source close to Bo Thursday told the Global Times on condition of anonymity that the money involved in Bo's case was more than 20 million yuan ($3,259,240).

The huge amount may lead to a punishment ranging from 10 years' imprisonment to a death sentence.

The charges made Bo the third senior official, who once held a seat on the 25-member Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC), to stand trial in the past two decades, following former Beijing Party chief Chen Xitong and former Shanghai Party chief Chen Liangyu. Bo's predecessors in corruption both received suspended death sentences.

Bo's trial is in line with President Xi Jinping's vow to target both high-ranking "tigers" and low-ranking "flies" in the Party's anti-corruption efforts.

Li Zhuang, a lawyer and a long-time critic of Chongqing's controversial anti-gang campaign under Bo, told the Global Times that Bo's trial symbolizes the future direction of China's judicial reform, in which "every one is equal before the law no matter how high his position is."

Li was sentenced to 18 months in prison in 2010, while Bo was still in power, for supposedly fabricating evidence and encouraging a former client and mobster, who was arrested during Chongqing's crackdown on organized crime, to perjure himself in court.

He claimed that Bo had brought a negative influence to the rule of law, local economy and politics, accusing him of "oppressing private entrepreneurs" and "abusing the law."

A bylined article on Bo's indictment carried by the official website of the Xinhua News Agency Thursday said local governments must safeguard the authority of the central government in making fundamental policies and the appointment and removal of officials.

It asked the public to hold an objective view of officials' achievements and mistakes, and asked those who had lived under the rule of corrupt officials to recognize the officials' misconducts, resolutely follow the central authorities' decisions and wait for the court's ruling.

Tong Zhiwei, a professor with the East China University of Political Science and Law, who started to write papers on Bo's rule in Chongqing in 2010, said that Bo created his own way of ruling in the southwestern municipality, which seriously went against the central government's policies and the Constitution.

Last September, the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee decided to expel Bo from the Party, after accepting as valid an investigation report on the former official's severe disciplinary violations.

The evidence of Bo's alleged violations of the law was then transferred to the judicial organs for handling.

After the handling of Bo's case within the Party, Tong said Bo will now be held accountable under the framework of law.

"We shouldn't draw a connection between Bo's failure to stay consistent with the central government and his violations of the law, as the politics and rule of law are two separate problems," Tong said.

Bo's scandal was revealed after Wang Lijun, Chongqing's former police chief, entered the US general consulate in Chengdu without authorization in February 2012, and the revelation of his wife Bogu Kailai's murder of British businessman Neil Heywood.

Wang was sentenced to 15 years in prison for bending the law for selfish ends, defection, abuse of power and bribe-taking.

Bogu Kailai was sentenced to death with a two-year reprieve for murdering Heywood.

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