Bo Xilai

NPC panel prepares to remove Bo Xilai from post, setting up trial

As top legislative body prepares to strip fallen party star of legal immunity, his son denies reports he has returned home for court case

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 16 October, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 28 February, 2013, 3:53pm

The National People's Congress (NPC) Standing Committee is expected to strip disgraced politician Bo Xilai of his NPC membership next week, paving the way for the former high-flier's trial.

Xinhua reported yesterday that the NPC Standing Committee would meet from October 23 to 26 and members would review "the membership status of certain delegates".

The Politburo expelled Bo from the party late last month and Chongqing's people's congress voted to strip him of his NPC membership.

A decision to kick Bo, a former member of the Communist Party Politburo, out of the NPC would be put to a vote at the end of a four-day session, analysts said.

They added that stripping the former Chongqing party secretary of his NPC membership was constitutionally required to pave the way for criminal proceedings against him.

That's despite rumours that his trial was already under way, with some reports saying it began just yesterday.

"It is the final move to wrap up the administrative procedures that enable criminal charges against him, because under the Chinese constitution NPC deputies are immune from criminal prosecution," said Gu Su, a constitutional law expert at Nanjing University.

Beijing is scrambling to put an end to the case - one of China's worst political scandal in decades - ahead of its once-a-decade leadership transition.

Meanwhile, Bo Guagua , the son of Bo and his wife, Gu Kailai , denied reports that he was back in China.

"Just as most of the news reported on my family today, the news that I arrived back in China is completely without basis," Bo Guagua, who graduated from Harvard University in May with a master's degree in public policy, told The New York Times yesterday.

His father, formerly a contender for membership of the party's supreme Politburo Standing Committee, was sacked from all his posts earlier this year after revelations that his wife murdered a British businessman in November last year.

Johnny Lau Yui-siu, a veteran Hong Kong-based China-watcher, said former officials were often stripped off all their official positions before they were handed to the justice system for trial.

Lau said the leadership desperately wants to wrap up the scandal before they begin selecting new leaders at the party's 18th national congress on November 8.

"They are definitely aiming to wrap up the whole case by completing all the procedures for the trial and verdict on Bo Xilai ahead of the party congress," Liu said.

The NPC Standing Committee will also deliberate on amendments to seven laws, including the Prison Law. Members will also study government reports on cultural system reform, restructuring state-owned enterprises, and social assistance.