Prosecutor urges Bo Xilai receive ‘severe’ sentence

AP, JINAN, China

Tue, Aug 27, 2013 - Page 6

A prosecutor demanded severe punishment for disgraced former Chongqing party boss Bo Xilai (薄熙來) because of his lack of remorse as the court ended a five-day corruption trial yesterday that offered glimpses into the shady inner workings of China’s elite.

The trial, aimed at cementing Bo’s political downfall and wrapping up the scandal set off by his wife’s murder of a British businessman, painted a colorful picture of how Bo’s alleged misconduct enriched his family.

Prosecutors said the proceedings have shown adequate proof of Bo’s guilt on charges of netting US$4.3 million through bribes and embezzlement and abuse of power in interfering with the murder investigation.

“The defendant’s crimes are extremely grave, and he also refuses to admit guilt. As such, the circumstances do not call for a lenient punishment, but a severe one, in accordance with the law,” the prosecutor said, according to a transcript of court proceedings.

Bo is accused of providing political favors to a businessman, Xu Ming (徐明), in return for having him at his family’s beck and call.

According to Bo’s wife, Xu gave the family expensive gifts that included a villa in France and international airfare to three continents.

Bo also is accused of funneling US$800,000 in government funds from a secret project.

Bo denied the charges against him and assailed the prosecution’s key witnesses — his former right-hand man and his wife.

Throughout, Bo blamed his wife and others for netting the illicit money and assets, including a villa in France and funds from a secret government project, but largely denied knowledge of the misconduct.

China’s newly installed leadership is hoping to move on from the scandal to cement its authority and fully focus on tackling serious economic and social challenges.