Bo Xilai's trial (day 5): Wang Lijun defected after exposure of illicit relationship with Gu Kailai, says Bo
4.11pm: The presiding judge Wang Xuguang orders Bo to be removed from the court.
4.10pm: Bo praises the court for releasing the trial transcripts on weibo and that it gave him a chance to express himself. "In prison, my medical treatment and nutrition is good, it shows the kind nature of Shandong people, they didn't pour water on a drowning man. I hereby again express my gratitude."
4.04pm: Bo says: "I want to tell Gu Kailai, I have recently heard people say that you have made a lot of money, you really shouldn't have, but I have also heard that most of the money you made was legal. I want to emphasise the corruption charges against me are wrong. I did not manage my family members and subordinates well, I apologise to the party and the masses."
3.57pm: He again refutes Tang Xiaolin and Wang Zhenggang's testimony, questions their credibility.
3.56pm: Bo says he is responsible for neglecting oversight over his son Bo Guagua and not knowing about Xu Ming's financial contribution to his expenses.
3.52pm: Bo says he is willing to accept an inquiry into his partial guilt for causing Wang Lijun's attempted defection. He says he also accepts legal responsibility for it, but he rejects the charges of corruption and being accused of trying to cover up the murder Neil Heywood.
3.50pm: The court asks Bo to rise for his final remarks.
3.48pm: Bo Xilai about his wife: "All the charges against me in here, they show that a very important witness in regards to my guilt is my partner, my wife Gu Kailai. Letting a wife give evidence against a husband is an important feature of this trial."
3.38pm: Court releases new transcript.
3.21pm: The court has yet to release Bo's final statement.
3.16pm: The prosecution replies that the witnesses had no motive in framing Bo Xilai. The prosecution again lists the various witnesses and says that their testimonies are sufficient evidence for a conviction on the three charges of accepting bribes, embezzlement and abuse of power.
3.12pm: Bo's lawyer addresses the court, says slapping Wang Lijun was not abuse of power and being slapped does not turn someone into a traitor.
3.05pm: Court releases new transcript.
When will the court announce the verdict?
Bo's wife had to wait almost two weeks to learn of the verdict in her trial in August last year. She received a suspended death sentence for the murder of Neil Heywood. Zhang Xiaojun, her aide, was sentenced to nine years in prison for procuring the poison.
Former Chongqing police chief Wang Lijun had to wait only six days to hear the verdict in his trial in September last year. He was sentenced to 15 years in prison and deprived of his political rights for one year for "bending the law for selfish ends", defection, abuse of power and bribe-taking.
Mao Zedong's wife Jiang Qing had to wait almost two months for the verdict in her trial on counterrevolutionary charges in 1980. She was given a suspended death sentence. Former Shanghai Party Secretary Chen Liangyu had to wait 16 days for the guilty verdict in his trial on bribery and abuse of power in 2008. He was sentenced to 18 years in prison. Former mayor of Beijing Chen Xitong was sentenced to 16 years in prison on charges of corruption and dereliction of duty in July 1998.
1.42pm: The trial ends. The court will announce the verdict at an unspecified later date. It has yet to release transcripts of Bo's last words in court. A press briefing is scheduled to be held within the next minutes at the nearby Jihua Hotel.
1.38pm: Bo's lawyer argues that evidence obtained abroad has not been obtained according to formal procedures and was thus inadmissible.
1.34pm: Bo's lawyer cites court records as saying that Gu already had 40 million yuan, US$3 million, 500,000 euro and £200,000 in assets when she left China more than a decade ago.
1.29pm: Court releases transcript.
1.28pm: Bo made his first confession, "because there was hope in my heart that I could preserve my party membership and my life in politics," he tells the court.
— edde (@Edourdoo) August 26, 2013
1.06pm: Bo says that Wang had told him that 11 people around Wang had disappeared. "I don't know about these things, but they could be investigated," he says.
1.04pm: Bo says he sacked Wang Lijun not only because of the Heywood incident, but also because of "five, six issues, there are records".
1.00pm: Bo says Gu insisted that she was innocent and that Wang Lijun had framed her until she was detained on March 14, 2012.
12.58pm: Elsewhere in his testimony, Bo repeatedly described the relationship between Wang and his wife Gu Kailai as “like glue and paint.”
“In fact they had a very special relationship,” Bo said, referring to Wang and Gu. “I was very upset about it.”
12.54pm: Bo says that he would have slapped Wang Zhenggang had wang ever suggested to him to transfer the five million yuan to a Bo family account.
12.51pm: The court rested for 10 minutes and resumed the hearing.
12.49pm: The real cause of Wang Lijun’s defection, Bo says, is that he found out about an illicit relationship between Wang Lijun and his wife Gu Kailai.
Bo describes an emotional scene in which he walked into Wang and Gu as Wang was confessing his feelings for Gu.
“The real reason, as Wang has confessed himself, is that he had hidden feelings for Gu Kailai. He was consumed with these feelings and couldn’t control himself. He had also confessed to Gu Kailai, he said so in his letter to Gu Kailai.”
“He slapped himself eight times at the time, and Gu Kailai told him he was a little abnormal. Wang replied that he had been abnormal, but normal now.
“But then I appeared suddenly. I took things away."
“He knows my personality. He invaded my family, invaded my basic emotions. This is the real reason he defected. Wang Lijun wants to muddy up the water.”
12.44pm: Bo says that what Gu did not reflect the "Bo family tradition". "I hope the prosecutors do not also want to bring shame on our family tradition," he said.
12.38pm: Bo says that Gu made an effort to alienate him from his elder son Li Wangzhi, who he calls Bo Wangzhi in his statement.
12.34pm: Bo says that Gu lived abroad between 2000 and 2007. Upon her return, during his time as Chongqing party secretary, he had worked hard, visited every one of the 14 poverty-stricken counties in Chongqing and thus rarely saw Gu Kailai.
12.31pm: "If I had looked into things like flight tickets, accommodation expenses, travel expenses, I think neither Dalian nor negotiations at the Ministry of Commerce could have been successful."
12.26pm: Bo says he did not know that Xu Ming paid for his family's expenses. "I really, really didn't know," he said. "Could it be imagined that he would say, 'Governor, can I pay your family's flight tickets? Governor, can I pay for your sons expenses?' How could he say these things, such things would not even appear in the cheapest television dramas."
12.19pm: His actions related to the Dalian soccer club and the hot-air balloon Gu Kailai brought from Britain, he said those were not his "crimes", but his "pride".
12.17pm: "I can list a hundred persons with higher personal qualities than him or that I was closer to," said Bo.
12.16pm: Bo also rejects the testimony by Xu Ming, according to which they met at the Ministry of Commerce's driveway. "What status did I have? Minister of Commerce. "What status did he have? How many opportunities did he have to talk to me, even if he was my friend, I think this logic and analysis defies reason."
12.09pm: Bo rejects the charge that he received three bribes from Tang Xiaolin. He pointed to inconsistencies in Gu Kailai's testimony in the matter. There were hundreds of thousands of yuan in their shared safe, he said, how could Gu Kailai know that he took out the fifty thousand Tang gave him, without even knowing that he had received the bribes from Tang, he asked.
12.03pm: The presiding judge interrupts Bo saying Bo's last remark corresponded to current Chinese law. There was no need to sway away from the case, he said.
12.00pm: Bo calls on the prosecution not to dismiss his testimony in court as a "despicable act". He says he has indeed retracted his confession, but such a retraction was his right according to the law. This right has been instituted to prevent miscarriages of justice, he says.
11.55am: Bo Xilai addresses the court, calls the prosecution's accusations "old adages". "I think, the investigating organs' staff has put a lot of effort into finding ample evidence, they have compiled 90 volumes, I respect their work, this indeed is a vast and complex case, but how many of these 90 volumes have anything to do with me?"
11.50am: The court releases a new transcript. Details soon.
11.45am: The instructions mentioned in the deleted paragraph have not been previously mentioned in earlier court transcripts.
Read more on censorship of court records in this exclusive report by our reporter Keith Zhai from Jinan: Bo Xilai trial transcripts censored, say court sources. The article appeared in today's print edition of the South China Morning Post.
11.38am: The deleted paragraph in the transcript of the prosecution's closing arguments:
Defendant Bo Xilai ignored the facts in court, made unreasonable excuses in an attempt to confuse and mislead. For example, in the question of agreeing to issue a forged medical certificate for Wang Lijun, Bo Xilai repeatedly emphasised that this was based on superior orders. But as the evidence in the case shows, Bo Xilai's approval of the forged medical certificate was given earlier, and the mentioned six-item orders from above followed later, moreover, these instructions did not include forging a medical certificate. Bo’s defense mentioned above is an attempt to repudiate the truth in an effort to shirk responsibility.
11.25am: Bo Xilai has concluded his final statement. His lawyer is speaking.
11.19am: The hearing resumes.
11.18am: The third discrepancy is a change from "oral testimony" to "oral testimony in court" in a statement in which the prosecution addresses Bo directly. The prosecution argues that Bo's "oral testimony in court" (not just "oral testimony") would be insufficient as to exonerate him from his guilt.
11.09am: The reference to the "superior orders" has been removed from the transcript at least twice.
11.04am: The court rests for 15 minutes.
11.03am: The third version of the transcript of the prosecution's closing arguments is shorter than the previous two versions. It does not include a reference to Bo Xilai emphasising that he was following superior orders in regarding to Wang Lijun's medical certificate.
10.57am: The trial's transparency "surprised the West", writes Cankao Xiaoxi.
Prosecutors say evidence is sufficient and facts are clear for charges of bribery, embezzlement and abuse of power against Bo Xilai.
— Xinhua News Agency (@XHNews) August 26, 2013
10.40am: The court again deletes and re-publishes the earlier transcript.
10.25am: The state-run news agency Xinhua issues a commentary on Monday praising the trial's transparency:
Media home and abroad have hailed the openness and transparency showed by real-time online broadcasts and updates from Bo Xilai's trial in an East China court.
The public also generally believe that this showcases the Communist Party of China's (CPC) resolve in combating corruption and that the move represents historic progress for the rule of law in China.
Lawyer Li Zhuang on trial: "The old saying, 'He who talks much is sure to lose' 言多必失 has been proven by Bo Xilai." http://t.co/k2po4lFb2n
— Chris Buckley 储百亮 (@ChuBailiang) August 26, 2013
10.22am: Access to the Chinese-language version of the South China Morning Post is blocked in several provinces on Monday. Some readers reported the site being blocked since Sunday.
10.16am: The court has releases the prosecutor's transcript again. It is yet unclear whether changes have been made.
10.14am: The court has deleted the transcript on its microblog.
10.13am: "The defendant has committed extremely serious crimes, and refused to admit guilt, there are no legal reasons for a lenient verdict, he has to be severely punished according to the law."
10.11am: The prosecution addresses the panel of judges.
10.09am: "We remind the defendant, Bo Xilai: the facts of the crimes are objective, they can not be changed according to your subjective wishes."
10.06am: The prosecution addresses Bo Xilai directly.
10.02am: The prosecution says it has already seized financial assets acquired illegally by Bo. It will work towards seizing Gu's villa in Cannes.
10.00am: The prosecution says Bo's testimony in regards to the abuse of power contradicts the facts and is an attempt to push responsibility away from him.
9.55am: On the charges of embezzlement, the prosecution says Bo failed to "severely criticize" Wang Zhenggang when they discussed the five million yuan in surplus funds for the secret project in Dalian. Bo also did not ask Wang to remit the money to the Dalian municipal government.
9.54am: The prosecution says Bo only found out about Gu's villa in Cannes when she already had bought it, but failed to act on the information. He did not ask her to return it, thus consenting to her acts. He should thus be considered guilty of accepting bribes, the prosecution says.
9.48am: The prosecution says the evidence proves that Bo knew about Gu's dealings with Xu and acquiesced in her decisions.
9.43am: The prosecution says that Bo failed to explain why he changed his testimony in court.
9.40am: The court releases transcript.
9.33am: China Central Television has not yet released footage of Bo, but says Bo looks tired.
9.25am: Bo Xilai is now making his final statement, the court says. The court has yet to release a transcript of the prosecution's closing arguments.
As we are waiting for the court to release a transcript, revisit Robert Keatley's take in The National Interest:
The trial "doesn’t address the corruption and guanxi issues that enrage so many ordinary citizens, especially educated young people who believe these limit their own career opportunities," he writes.
...and author Ma Jian via Project Syndicate on why Bo's case doesn't really move China:
So Bo is anything but a tragic figure. When he cries for his dead daughter Cordelia, King Lear comes to understand the personal flaws that brought about his demise, and for this he elicits sympathy. When Bo appears in court, his pleas will not be so persuasive. We may see in his face Lear’s desperation: “Howl, howl, howl, howl! O, you are men of stones.” But in the courtroom, and all over China, the audience will remain unmoved – and rightly so.
... Chen Jieren, a legal commentator, told the International Herald Tribune:
“The authorities hope to separate the Bo Xilai case from politics,” he said. “They want people to think this was only an anticorruption struggle, not a political and ideological struggle.”
8.53am: The prosecution begins with its closing arguments.
8.50am: The court is first hearing the closing arguments by the prosecution, then Bo's own closing arguments followed by his lawyer's final statement.
8.36am: The court resumes hearing Bo Xilai's trial.
The Guardian speculates about Bo Xilai's future in an editorial:
If there is little doubt that Mr Bo will go down – and most analysts believe for at least a decade – he is now more likely to do so in a manner that keeps his large, loyal, grassroots following intact. He could even be rehabilitated at some point in the future.
The Sina news portal conveniently lists a series of major Chinese-language commentaries on the trial. They are, however, all in favour of a conviction.
The Legal Daily, a national newspaper which has previously been critical of Bo, quotes a legal scholar on Monday as saying that the prosecution has presented sufficient evidence for a conviction on abuse of power.
The Ta Kung Pao, a Hong Kong-based newspaper, carries a commentary which speculates that Bo will be given a harsher sentence, because he did not admit guilt. The commentary suggests that Bo could appeal and that Bo's son Guagua and wife Gu Kailai could face charges related to the revelations brought forward in court over the last days.
The China Police Daily, a newspaper under the Ministry of State Security, praised the trial in a commentary, saying it reflected progress in China's rule of law.
The Chongqing Daily, the Communist Party's main newspaper in the city, carries a front page article in which the municipal party committee announces 22 measures to improve residents' livelihoods.
Key players in Bo Xilai's trial:
Map of Bo Xilai's career moves and the family's known properties:
View Bo Xilai in a larger map
Gu Kailai's taped testimony released on Friday: