Bo Xilai to face open court

By Liu Sha Source:Global Times Published: 2013-8-19 0:38:00

Former Chongqing Party chief Bo Xilai will face an open trial at the Jinan Intermediate People's Court in East China's Shandong Province on Thursday, on charges of bribe-taking, embezzlement and abuse of power.

According to a statement posted on its official website on Sunday afternoon, the court said the open trial will start at 8:30 am on Thursday at its 5th courtroom.

Bo was indicted on the three charges on July 25. The indictment paper said Bo took advantage of his position to seek profit, accepted an "extremely large amount" of money and properties, embezzled a large amount of public money and abused his power, the Xinhua News Agency reported.

An anonymous source close to Bo told the Global Times that the money involved in Bo's case stands at 25 million yuan ($4.1 million).

The source said Bo allegedly took most of the bribes during his time in Dalian, Northeast China's Liaoning Province, where he worked as the head of the local publicity department, vice mayor and mayor between 1988 and 2000.

The charge of power abuse is mainly related to the case of Wang Lijun, the former Chongqing police chief, the source said.

He said that Bo allegedly attempted to stop Wang from re-investigating the death of British businessman Neil Heywood and illegally removed Wang from his position.

Bo's scandal emerged after Wang entered the US general consulate in Chengdu without authorization last February, and the revelation that his wife Bogu Kailai murdered Heywood.

Bogu Kailai was sentenced to death with a two-year reprieve for the murder and Wang was sentenced to 15 years in prison for bending the law for selfish ends, defection, power abuse and bribe-taking.

The open trial notice has received nationwide attention, and has been featured prominently on top news sections on nearly all the news portals in China.

"Contrary to some people's speculation, the whole case is progressing normally under the law," Qin Qianhong, a constitutional law professor with Wuhan University, told the Global Times on Sunday, noting that punishing Bo in accordance with the law will reassure the public that the Party and the government will stick to their vow to govern through the rule of law.

Bo's case also firmly aligns with the Communist Party of China (CPC)'s determination to fight against corruption, once again making it clear that no one can ride roughshod over the law, Qin said

Bo is the third senior official, who once held a seat on the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the CPC, to stand trial over 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.

Compared to the cases of Chen Xitong and Chen Liangyu, Qin said that matters related to Bo's trial have been more transparent and the information was revealed in a timely manner. "The rule of law is becoming more effective," he said.

A People's Daily commentary on July 26 said that Bo's indictment demonstrated the CPC's strictness with its members and adherence to the governing philosophy of ruling the country by law, adding that no one should gamble on the notion that "punishments are not for elites."

Daily special: Bo Xilai charged with bribery, power abuse

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