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  • Dec 27, 2014
  • Updated: 1:33am

Bo Xilai

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. 

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CRIME

Bo Xilai's cries of defiance after he is sentenced to life in prison for corruption

Explosive ending to politically charged trial as shamed princeling yells out 'Unjust!' after being found guilty of corruption and abuse of power

PUBLISHED : Monday, 23 September, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 23 September, 2013, 11:08am
 

Bo Xilai erupted in anger as he was sentenced to life in prison for corruption yesterday.

The fallen former Politburo member yelled out "Unfair!" and "Unjust!" in an explosive ending to one of the country's most politically charged trials in decades.

The Jinan Intermediate People's Court in Shandong found him guilty on all three counts of bribery, embezzlement and abuse of power.

But before being forcibly taken away by the court's guards, Bo shouted: "The decision was not based on facts. The court is neither open nor just and didn't take the points made by my defence lawyers and me."

The defiant outburst - consistent with the combative defence Bo maintained during his five-day trial last month - was omitted from official accounts of the proceedings.

The court's microblog said only that Bo "was escorted out of the courtroom" after the verdict was announced.

China Central Television broadcast footage of handcuffed Bo - wearing an open-necked white shirt, black slacks and black trainers - showing a hint of a smile as the verdict was read out.

Outside the court, the police presence appeared heavier than during the trial, underscoring the sensitivity of the event.

The sentence is the most severe punishment of a former Politburo member since the so-called Gang of Four's trial in 1980-81.

And it capped an 18-month political drama that some feared would cause a major rift in the Communist Party.

The sentence surprised some analysts who believed that Bo, formerly the Chongqing party boss, would receive a relatively light punishment.

Zhang Ming, a political science professor with Renmin University in Beijing, had expected a sentence of 20 years.

"The severe punishment was due to Bo's refusal to admit to the charges against him," Zhang said. "The top authorities were certainly not happy about that."

He added that the sentence would also demonstrate the leadership's resolve in the anti-corruption drive launched by President Xi Jinping.

As the princeling son of the late revolutionary Bo Yibo , Bo was seen as a standard-bearer for the party's more conservative wing.

His campaigns to revive Mao Zedong-era culture and to crack down on crime made him popular in Chongqing, but a controversial figure among rights advocates and party liberals.

Bo, 64, now faces the prospect of life behind bars, although mainland criminal law could allow his sentence to be commuted to 15-20 years after he has served two years and made an "extraordinary contribution".

However, the sentence means Bo cannot expect to be released until after the 20th party congress in 2022, when Xi would be expected to retire as party chief.

Zhang said: "It serves to manifest [the leadership's] determination and also ensures Bo won't get out during their tenure."

A source with the State Council, China's cabinet, said the leadership tried to account for all possibilities while deciding on Bo's sentence.

If he had been given a lighter sentence, such as 15-20 years, he could potentially have been released in as few as eight years.

"Then, he could still become a very destabilising factor for the party," the source said.

Specifically, Bo was sentenced to life for taking bribes worth 20.4 million yuan (HK$25.7 million), 15 years for embezzling 5 million yuan and seven years for abuse of power by demoting his former police chief, Wang Lijun . The sentences will run concurrently.

But the court accepted that the prosecution failed to present enough evidence to convict him of taking 1.3 million yuan from Dalian businessman Xu Ming to provide air travel for his wife Gu Kailai and son Bo Guagua.

Gu has already received a suspended death sentence for murdering British businessman Neil Heywood. Wang was sentenced to 15 years in prison for bribery and abuse of power, among other crimes.

Bo has 10 days to file an appeal, something his family and associates expected him to do.

Former Politburo member, former Beijing party chief Chen Xitong sought unsuccessfully to overturn his corruption conviction a decade ago.

Additional reporting by staff reporter

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juliuslomo
Corruption is widespread in China and the foreign companies in China are as bad as the domestic firms and turn a blind eye to their staff paying or receiving kickbacks and commissions to win contracts or tenders, or to get favorable treatment from the Chinese government and authorities etc. This case, as every Chinese person knows, is about the new President, Xi Jinping taking out his number one rival. Bo Xilai is correct to shout out "BU GONG PING" . There is nothing fair about the Chinese criminal justice system. Its all about politics and power. One rule for the people and one for the chosen elite. It is actually a very common practice for Chinese government officials to ask for and receive bribes. Even in the private sector every bidder for a contract will be expected to pay 5-15% commission to secure a contract. A tender is just a paper exercise to be manipulated and arrive at an already agreed decision. The current crack down on officials lavish parties etc has just pushed all the corrupt activity underground and for those involved to be more creative and hide their tracks. The Chinese government has even arrested many of the private investigation firms (even foreign ones) who used to be employed in China to shed some transparency on who's who and who is doing what and what risks are involved. Transparency is the last thing China wants. Bo Xilai's case is just propaganda and politics...justice and fairness doesn't come into it.
daikerdy
huoon............so now Chinese leader MR BO come to realize Chinese justice system is unjust and full of flaws....then when it come to his own neck
lamlm38
should send the Kwok brothers to this court hse.. judgement will be swift and just :) imagine the time and tax payer $ saved..
HiggsSinglet
Regardless of what he did, this confucius judicial system is quite a fxxked up one. It has been thousands of years!!!. With this being said, hope this ugly MFSOB Zhou dude will be executed by this same system sometime in the near future!!!
HiggsSinglet
Oh, by the way, that guard on Bo's right hand side looks like a typical stoned faced ugly confucius goon!!!! I bet that guard hates his own mother!!!
deendayal.lulla
One tends to agree with Bo Xillai. The verdict is nothing but political rivalry. One should admire Bo Xillai's courage for telling the world that the verdict is unfair and unjust.
lamlm38
a person of his position manages to swindle only 20million yuan deserve to die for stupidity!! anyway, anyone who tries to bring back memories of Mao's excesses should b locked forever!!!
HiggsSinglet
Thanks to confucius!!
Martin Alexander
It's interesting to note that Bo, who is 6ft 1in tall, is dwarfed by the 'police officers' who stand on either side. And not for the first time in photos of Bo on trial, either.
With the average height of Chinese men at 5ft 8in, could this be a deliberate ploy to diminish Bo's stature? Surely not - it can't be possible that a government with all the august dignity and commitment to justice of the PRC would stoop so low.
HiggsSinglet
The one standing on Bo's right hand side looks like an ape anyway!!

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