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Bo Xilai jail letter: My name will be cleared one day

Shamed princeling tells family ahead of corruption trial verdict he is ready to follow in his father’s footsteps and be sent to prison

Bo Xilai
Keith Zhai

Bo Xilai says he is prepared to follow in his father's footsteps by going to prison and maintains that "one day" his name will be cleared.

His comments were made in a letter addressed to his family as he awaits Sunday's verdict in his corruption trial.

Two people with close ties to the Bo family confirmed to the yesterday that the letter - circulated among a small group of his supporters since Tuesday - was indeed written by the 64-year-old former Politburo member.

It is the first communication between Bo and his family to become public since his detention in March last year.

In the letter, believed to have been written last Thursday, Bo continued to show the defiance he displayed at his five-day trial.

"I will wait quietly in the prison," the former Chongqing party chief wrote. "My father was jailed many times. I will follow his footsteps." Bo's late father Bo Yibo was one of the most influential communist elders to survive the Cultural Revolution.

He was among a group - along with Deng Xiaoping and others - dubbed the "eight immortals" by overseas China watchers for their political longevity. He died in 2007 aged 98.

The elder Bo was sent to jail at least twice by the Nationalists before the communists swept to power in 1949. He was purged in 1966 during the Cultural Revolution and was reinstated to power only in the late 1970s.

In his letter, Bo said: "Father and mother have passed away, but their teachings continue to serve me well. I would not disgrace their glorious past. I could suffer even greater miseries."

Bo said he kept a picture of his mother on his bedside and felt "no longer alone" with his mother beside him. His mother, Hu Ming , committed suicide during the Cultural Revolution, according to official accounts.

Bo also thanked his family members for their support.

"In these distressful hours, [I realised that] blood is thicker than water," he wrote. "I felt stronger when you were sitting behind me during the trial."

Towards the end of his letter, Bo sent a message to his two sons - Li Wangzhi , 35, born to his first wife, and Bo Kuangyi , better known as Bo Guagua , who was born to his second wife Gu Kailai .

"Wangzhi and Kuangyi are good kids," he wrote. "I wish they could take over the family tradition and achieve something. I hope that they become good brothers."

The Jinan People's Intermediate Court announced yesterday it would hand down its verdict on Bo at 10am on Sunday.

He has been charged with bribery, embezzlement and abuse of power. Sources say Bo is likely to be jailed for less than 15 years and will probably appeal.


This article appeared in the South China Morning Post print edition as: Bo Xilai letter: My name will be cleared one day