China’s disgraced Bo Xilai to face trial soon: paper

Reuters, HONG KONG

Thu, Jul 25, 2013 - Page 6

isgraced former Chongqing Chinese Communist Party (CCP) boss Bo Xilai (薄熙來) will soon face public trial on charges of bribery, embezzlement and abuse of power, a Hong Kong newspaper reported yesterday.

Bo’s wife, Gu Kailai (谷開來) and his former police chief, Wang Lijun (王立軍), have both been jailed over China’s biggest political scandal in decades, which stems from the murder of British businessman Neil Heywood in November 2011.

The government in September last year accused Bo of corruption and of bending the law to hush up that murder.

China’s prosecutors and courts come under the CCP’s control and are most unlikely to challenge the party’s accusations, though formal charges have yet to be publicly announced.

Hong Kong’s South China Morning Post, citing unnamed sources, said details of the charges against Bo had been read out at meetings of government officials in his former power base of Chongqing and other cities.

NO TIMETABLE

No timetable for the trial was given, but it would happen soon in Jinan, the daily said.

Bo was ousted from his post last year after Heywood’s murder.

Before that, Bo had been widely tipped to be promoted to the party’s elite inner core.

His downfall came after Wang fled briefly to a US consulate in Chengdu in February last year and accused Bo’s wife of poisoning Heywood.

Bo, a former commerce minister, used his post as CCP secretary of Chongqing from 2007 to last year to cast the sprawling, haze-covered municipality into a showcase for his mix of populist policies and bold spending plans that won support from leftists yearning for a charismatic leader.

Rumors have swirled in China about Bo’s fate, but the government has given no definitive word on progress into the investigation against him since late last year.

Another Hong Kong newspaper, the Beijing-backed Ta Kung Pao, reported in January that Bo was about to be tried in Guiyang, which sent dozens of reporters flocking to the courthouse.

The report turned out to be untrue.