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.
Timeline: Key dates in the downfall of Bo Xilai
Bo Xilai is the former rising star in China’s ruling Communist Party. He now faces trial for bribery and abuse of power following a scandal that saw his wife convicted of murdering a British businessman.
NOVEMBER 2011 - 15: British businessman Neil Heywood is found dead in a hotel room in Chongqing, a sprawling municipality in southwestern China. Authorities rule the cause of death was a heart attack and his body is quickly cremated.
FEBRUARY 2012 - 2: Bo’s right-hand man and Chongqing police chief Wang Lijun is demoted.
6: Wang visits US embassy in Chengdu reportedly seeking political asylum.
7: Wang leaves US embassy of his own volition.
8: Wang is placed on sick leave for stress and over-work. Sick leave is a term often used as a euphemism for a political purge in China.
MARCH - 2: State news agency Xinhua says Wang has been placed under investigation, giving no further details. - 9: Bo publicly defends his wife during a press conference at the annual meeting of China’s National People’s Congress, or parliament.
15: Bo sacked from Chongqing party secretary position, with no reason given for his dismissal.
26: British government asks China to investigate Heywood’s death. Rumours that Bo’s wife Gu Kailai may have been involved begin to circulate.
APRIL - 10: Bo is stripped of his position in the Communist Party’s powerful 25-member Politburo and the wider Central Committee. Government says Gu is being investigated on suspicion of involvement in Heywood’s murder. JULY - 26: Gu and Zhang Xiaojun, a family employee, are charged with killing Heywood.
AUGUST - 20: Gu is handed a suspended death sentence for murder. The sentence is usually commuted to life in prison.
SEPTEMBER - 5: Wang is charged with defection, taking bribes and abuse of power. An indictment quoted by state media said Wang had “known beforehand” that Gu was under “serious suspicion” of murdering Heywood, without taking action.
24: Wang is sentenced to 15 years in prison following a two-day trial in which he does not object to charges against him.
28: China’s state media says Bo is expelled from the party and will “face justice”.
OCTOBER - 26: Bo Xilai is expelled from China’s parliament, removing his immunity from prosecution.
JULY 2013 - 25: Prosecutors charge Bo with corruption, bribery and abuse of power.
AUGUST - 18: Bo’s trial date set for August 22 at the Intermediate People’s Court in the eastern city of Jinan.