Life in jail for Bo Xilai

By Bai Tiantian Source:Global Times Published: 2013-9-23 1:13:02

Bo Xilai, former Chongqing Party chief, is handcuffed following the announcement of his verdict at the Jinan Intermediate People's Court in East China's Shandong Province. Photo: Xinhua

Former senior official Bo Xilai was sentenced to life in prison on Sunday after being found guilty on all three charges of bribery, embezzlement and abuse of power by a court in Jinan, East China's Shandong Province.

According to the verdict from the Jinan Intermediate People's Court, Bo, the former secretary of the Chongqing Municipal Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) and a former member of the CPC Central Committee Political Bureau, was deprived of political rights for life, and his personal assets were also confiscated.

Bo was found guilty of taking bribes totaling 20.44 million yuan ($3.3 million), either personally or through his wife Bogu Kailai and son Bo Guagua, between 1999 and 2012.  

Bo's career had been on the rise during this period. He progressed from being the mayor of Dalian in the northeastern province of Liaoning, to the CPC secretary of the city, to the governor of Liaoning and minister of commerce.

The court said Bo granted Tang Xiaolin, who was general manager of Dalian International Development Co Ltd, and Xu Ming, chairman of Dalian Shide Group Co Ltd, favors and received bribes, including money and property, in return.

Bo was also found guilty of embezzling 5 million yuan in public funds.

The court also stated that Bo had violated organizational procedures to remove Wang Lijun, then Chongqing's police chief and vice mayor, after Wang informed him that his wife Bogu Kailai was a suspect in the murder of British businessman Neil Heywood.

The court's verdict said Bo's actions were critical to Wang Lijun's attempted defection and why the Heywood case was not handled in a timely and legal manner.

The court held that there was sufficient and authentic evidence to support the charges against Bo, though Bo himself and his lawyer denied them all.

The court said these charges were supported by several witnesses, as well as other evidence such as photographs of physical evidence, documentary evidence and electronic data.

In addition, Bo himself also confessed to part of the facts, and his confession to the CPC's Central Commission for Discipline Inspection corroborated them.

During the open trial a month ago, Bo said his written confession was made under "psychological pressure" last year. In response, the court Sunday rejected Bo's demand to exclude his confession, saying the pressure claimed by Bo was not forced, in accordance with the Criminal Procedure Law.

The court did, however, exclude 1.34 million yuan from the bribery accepted by Bo, saying that there was not enough evidence to support the charge that Xu Ming paid this amount in air tickets for Bogu Kailai and Bo Guagua and that Bo was aware of this.

The illicit money and goods that Bo accepted as bribes or embezzled have been recovered or compensated for, the court said.

According to the law, Bo has 10 days from the announcement of the verdict to file an appeal.

"It is very likely that Bo will launch an appeal as he denied all charges on court," a source close to the trial Sunday told the Global Times on condition of anonymity.

"Considering Bo's family background and his senior position within the Party, the trial is of great significance," Tong Zhiwei, a professor with the East China University of Political Science and Law, told the Global Times, noting it indicates that no one is above the law.

The trial, which was made public through continuous Weibo updates, demonstrated an unprecedented degree of openness and transparency and could serve as an example for other cases, according to analysts.

"People had concerns before the trial that the court hearing might be staged but the prompt updates on Weibo and the content of Bo's speeches cleared these doubts," Duan Wanjin, a Shaanxi-based criminal lawyer, told the Global Times.

Liu Sha and Xinhua contributed to this story

Posted in: Politics

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