Disgraced Chinese politician Bo Xilai (薄熙來) has been expelled from the nation’s parliament and stripped of his legal immunity, clearing the way for his prosecution, state media said yesterday.
The announcement follows intense speculation on the fate of the former party boss of the city of Chongqing in the lead-up to a once-in-a-decade leadership transition set to begin on Nov. 8.
Xinhua news agency said the Standing Committee of the 11th National People’s Congress (NPC) removed Bo from his post late last month, but made the announcement only yesterday at a bimonthly session.
“According to the law on the deputies to NPC and to local people’s congresses, his post was terminated,” Xinhua said, quoting a statement from the committee at the end of a four-day meeting.
The report also said that Bo had “borne major responsibility” for the murder of a British businessman that resulted in his downfall, without elaborating.
The focus will now shift to when Bo will face trial for a litany of alleged crimes, with most commentators suggesting the court case will be after the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) Congress next month to select new leaders.
Li Xiaolin (李肖霖), a lawyer who had been appointed by the Bo family, yesterday said he did not expect the court case to be held until after the congress.
Party chiefs are set to meet for the CCP’s Central Committee’s 7th Plenary Session on Thursday next week to formally approve the convening of the congress and confirm the decision made last month to remove Bo from the party.
Bo’s expulsion from the NPC comes after state media announced last month that he would “face justice” for alleged abuse of power, taking bribes and improper sexual relations.
This was seen as an unprecedented public rebuke for a senior Chinese party official as authorities looked to lay to rest a damaging episode that shocked China and saw Bo’s wife convicted of murder.
Bo, the party boss of the southwestern metropolis of Chongqing, had been seen as a candidate for promotion to the party’s top echelons, but he was brought down earlier this year by murder allegations against his wife, Gu Kailai (谷開來), that came to light when Bo’s key aide and police chief, Wang Lijun (王立軍), sought refuge in the US consulate and detailed a string of alleged crimes.