Bo Xilai charged with corruption
‘Princeling’ of Chinese Communist Party likely to be sentenced within month
China’s former Chongqing municipality Communist Party secretary Bo Xilai, who has been charged with bribery, abuse of power and corruption. Photograph: Jason Lee
Former Chinese politician Bo Xilai has finally charged been with corruption in what is shaping up to be China’s trial of the century. The state news agency Xinhua said Mr Bo would be charged with bribery, embezzlement and power abuse.
As a top cadre, he reportedly took advantage of his position to seek profits for others. The formal charges mean he will probably be sentenced within a month.
“Defendant Bo Xilai used his official state position to seek benefits, illegally accepted an extremely huge amount of property from others, embezzled a huge amount of public money, and abused his power, resulting in huge losses to the nation and the people,” Xinhua reported yesterday. “The circumstances are extremely serious.
“Bo Xilai’s indictment again shows that everyone is equal in the eyes of the law . . . and nobody has special rights,” it said.
Mr Bo is looking fairly certain to be found guilty, while the charges look relatively lenient. His wife, Gu Kailai, and his former police chief, Wang Lijun, have both been convicted and jailed over the scandal, which stems from the murder of British businessman Neil Heywood in November 2011.
Xinhua cited the indictment as saying Mr Bo “took the advantage of his position as a civil servant to seek gains for others, as well as accepted bribes in the form of large amounts of money and property”.
Earlier, Mr Bo was accused of “improper sexual relationships with a number of women”, an accusation not mentioned in the current round of allegations against Mr Bo.
The charges are relatively mild, given the sums of money previously mentioned in corruption allegations. Mr Bo is unlikely to get the death sentence. As the “princeling” son of a legendary early leader of the Communist Party, his fate is a test of the new leadership’s campaign to crack down on official graft.
Li Zhuang, a former Beijing-based lawyer, has told Hong Kong’s South China Morning Post newspaper that Mr Bo was accused of receiving more than 20 million yuan (€2.7 million) in bribes and embezzling another five million yuan (€620,000).
The government may try and resolve the issue before a meeting of the third plenum of the central committee expected this autumn.