Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

MEDIAWATCH

No strategy and a beige suit

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - 29 August 2014 (part 2)

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - 29 August 2014

Read more

ENCORE!

Alain Choquette: A Hilarious Magician in Paris

Read more

FOCUS

France welcomes Iraqi Christian refugees

Read more

FRANCE IN FOCUS

Emmanuel Macron: A new economy minister with a pro-business agenda

Read more

THE OBSERVERS

More of this year's best Observers stories

Read more

#TECH 24

Changing the world, one video game at a time

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Socialist Party summer conference kicks off in explosive atmosphere

Read more

  • Kerry calls for 'coalition of nations' to battle IS militants

    Read more

  • EU leaders meet in Brussels to seek a response to Russia

    Read more

  • Exclusive: Fabius warns of further sanctions against Russia

    Read more

  • IMF stands behind Lagarde amid French corruption probe

    Read more

  • Ebola drug ‘ZMapp’ heals all monkeys in study

    Read more

  • British killer escapes from French psychiatric hospital

    Read more

  • Police hunt for British boy with brain tumour taken to France

    Read more

  • Ukraine to relaunch NATO membership bid

    Read more

  • Suriname leader’s son pleads guilty to courting Hezbollah

    Read more

  • Mapping Ukraine: Canada and Russia in ‘tweet for tat’ row

    Read more

  • France shines in IMF list of world’s promising economists

    Read more

  • Chelsea’s Torres set for AC Milan switch

    Read more

  • First case of Ebola confirmed in Senegal

    Read more

  • Obama has 'no strategy yet' against IS militants in Syria

    Read more

  • Netflix to woo French with ‘House of Cards’ set in Marseille

    Read more

  • French businesses ‘hoping for a new Thatcher’

    Read more

  • The deleted tweets of Manuel Valls

    Read more

  • Libyan PM resigns as Islamists set up rival administration

    Read more

  • Syrian refugees surpass three million, UN says

    Read more

  • UN says 43 peacekeepers captured in Golan Heights

    Read more

  • Peru seizes record 6.5 tonnes of Europe-bound cocaine

    Read more

Asia-pacific

China charges Bo Xilai with bribery, abuse of power

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2013-07-25

China on Thursday indicted Bo Xilai, the former Communist party chief of Chongqing, for bribery and abuse of power, state media reported. Bo is the highest-ranking Chinese official to face trial in decades.

China's once high-flying communist politician Bo Xilai was indicted Thursday for bribery and abuse of power, state media said, following a scandal that exposed deep divisions at the highest levels of government.

Bo, the former party chief of the southwestern city of Chongqing, will be the highest-profile Communist official to be put on trial in China for decades.

He has not been seen in public for more than a year since he was detained following the murder of a British businessman by his wife and his right-hand man's flight to a US consulate, triggering a huge political controversy.

"The indictment paper was delivered" to a court in Jinan, China's official Xinhua news agency said, citing prosecutors in the city in the eastern province of Shandong.

Bo "took the advantage of his position to seek profits for others and accepted an 'extremely large amount' of money and properties", it said, quoting the indictment.

A source with direct knowledge of the case, who requested anonymity, said the trial could begin in mid-August.

News of the proceedings comes at a time when the party is trying to show it is cracking down on corruption and government waste.

It has also had to manage the political rifts exposed by the downfall of Bo -- once one of 25 members of the ruling party's Politburo.

The decision to oust such a high-ranking leader would have required tough backroom negotiations among top leaders.

The trial would be an easier final step after the harder task of defusing any backlash among Bo supporters, said David Goodman, a China expert at the University of Sydney.

Holding the proceedings now would also allow leaders to draw a line under the scandal ahead of a key Communist Party plenum expected in the autumn.

"Politically it's logical now to do this before the plenum in October so you've got a neatness about it," Goodman said.

"The most difficult parts were all done," he said, adding that the trial would probably "be dealt with in a boring procedural way with as little drama as possible".

A Xinhua commentary warned against resistance to the decision, calling on local governments to "defend the authority" of the Beijing leadership.

"China's history has repeatedly proved that the stability and security of the country can only be ensured when the authority of the central government is maintained," it said.

It urged people to "soberly recognise the ugly face" of officials "who sought personal gain".

The scandal emerged last year ahead of a once-a-decade leadership transition, in which Bo had been considered a candidate for the Politburo Standing Committee -- China's most powerful body.

His downfall was triggered after his police chief and right-hand man Wang Lijun fled to a US consulate in Chengdu city near Chongqing, allegedly to seek asylum. Bo was detained a month later.

He had cultivated an unusually populist public image and led a high-profile anti-mafia campaign, which resulted in scores of arrests but led to allegations of torture against suspects.

Bo also revived some elements of 1960s Communist Party culture as part of a "Sing Red" campaign involving massive rallies, which drew comparisons with China's tumultuous Cultural Revolution period.

His approach won popular support but also divided top leaders, some of whom felt wary about the leftist bent.

Bo's wife was given a suspended death sentence last August for fatally poisoning businessman and family friend Neil Heywood. The penalty is normally commuted to a life sentence in China.

Wang was sentenced to 15 years in prison in September for defection and other crimes.

Bo himself was removed from his party and government posts, losing his legal immunity at the end of 2012.

Official media said he had "borne major responsibility" for the murder of Heywood and had taken "massive" bribes and had indulged in inappropriate sexual relations with "multiple women".

It is unclear what extent of evidence about the charges will be revealed in court. Trials in China are not public and move quickly, with judgements often decided beforehand by political authorities, especially in high-profile cases.

Bo has appointed two lawyers for the trial, both of whom are members of a law firm that has close ties to the ruling party.

His fate has generated widespread speculation, and rumours in January that his trial would open in the southwestern city of Guiyang sent packs of reporters to what turned out to be a quiet courthouse.

The last former Politburo member to be tried for corruption, Chen Liangyu, received an 18-year prison term in 2008.

(AFP)

 

Date created : 2013-07-25

  • CHINA

    Disgraced Bo Xilai expelled from China's parliament

    Read more

  • CHINA

    China’s Bo Xilai expelled from Communist Party

    Read more

  • CHINA

    Bo Xilai's former police chief sentenced to 15 years

    Read more

COMMENT(S)