Chinese Communist "princeling" Bo Xilai, expected by many to take a key leadership position in the leadership transition of 2012, was expelled from the Communist Party in September after a career that saw him as Mayor of Dalian City, Minister of Commerce and Party Chief of the Chongqing municipality. His wife Gu Kailai received a suspended death sentence in August 2012 for murdering British business partner Neil Heywood.
Bo Xilai appeals life sentence for corruption
Former Chongqing Party Secretary Bo Xilai has appealed against a life sentence on corruption charges, the Shandong High People's Court said in a statement on Wednesday.
The Jinan Intermediate People's Court in the Shandong provincial capital found Bo, 64, guilty on charges of embezzlement, bribery and abuse of power. He was sentenced to life imprisonment on September 22.
The announcement confirmed earlier reports by the South China Morning Post from sources close to Bo's family indicating that he would appeal the verdict. According to people present at the sentencing of the son of revolutionary hero Bo Yibo had cried out "Unfair!" and "Unjust!" when judge Wang Xuguang read the sentence.
Bo's trial in August captivated the nation due to the unprecedented live broadcast by the Jinan court on its microblog account. He countered the prosecution's graft allegations, sustained by testimony by his wife Gu Kailai and former Chongqing Deputy Mayor Wang Lijun, with defiance and pleaded not guilty to all charges.
The former minister of commerce had been widely expected to rise to a position of national leadership after the 18th National Party Congress in 2012. Wang Lijun's attempted defection to the US consulate in Chengdu in January and an investigation into his wife Gu Kailai over the murder of British businessman Neil Heywood led to Bo's disappearance after the congress.
Gu was given a suspended death sentence for Heywood's murder last year. Wang was sentenced to 15 years in prison on charges of defection, accepting bribes of at least 3 million yuan, abuse of power and "bending the law to selfish ends".