BBC (UK), XINHUA (China), REUTERS
JINAN- Bo Xilai, a former rising star of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and chief of Chongqing Municipality, was charged on Thursday with corruption, abuse of power and embezzlement, reports Xinhua news agency.
The indictment, delivered to the Jinan City Peopl’es Court, marks the latest twist to a political scandal that reached the highest echelon's of power in China, and has also led to the conviction of Bo's wife for the murder of a British businessman.
Bo has been charged with taking advantage of his high position to seek profits for others and accepting extremely large sums of money and properties as bribes.
Bo is also accused of embezzling public money, abusing of his power, and harming the interests of the State and the people.
According to Reuters, in Chinese law, charges must be served to the defendant and lawyers at least 10 days before a trial begins. Even though there was no sign that the trial was about to begin, more than 20 uniformed and plain-clothes policeman were in front of the gates of the courthouse.
A source with direct access to the case told Reuters that no official time had yet been set for the trial.
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Bo Xilai - Photo: VOA
In 2007 Bo Xilai was appointed Party chief of Chongqing. He became a leader of a movement for so-called “red” policies, having advocated more egalitarian economic growth. He was also nationally popular for his zero-tolerance policy against organized crime. However, his style and ambitions earned him a considerable number of political enemies in the high ranks of the Party, especially in the more reform-minded members.
In February 2012 what came to be known as the “Bo Xilai Scandal” erupted when the Chongqing police chief, Wang Lijun, fled to the US consulate in Chengdu and made allegations concerning the death in Chongqing of British businessman Neil Heywood.
Bo was suspected of trying to cover up the murder and was stripped of his positions. Bo Xilai’s wife, Gu Kailai was charged with Heywood’s murder and given a suspended death sentence last August. Wang Lijun, for his part, was sentenced to 15 years of imprisonment for defection, power abuse and corruption, The BBC reports.
According to Reuters, Bo has been accused of receiving more than 25 million RMB ($4 million) in bribes and embezzlement. This amount is about a third of what former railways minister, Liu Zhijun was accused of. Liu was given a suspended death sentence in earlier this month.