New York Times, China Daily, BBC
JINAN — The trial of Bo Xilai, the disgraced former Communist official accused of corruption, bribery and abuse of power, began Thursday morning in the eastern provincial capital of Jinan, according to China Daily. One of the most serious charges against him relates to his wife’s role in the murder of a British businessman.
As the morning session ended, an official microblog posted by the court said Bo Xilai, who was an official in southwest China’s Chongqing for four years, denied taking bribes from a businessman named Tang Xiaolin. The bribes were a fraction of the more than $3.4 million that he and his immediate family members are accused of accepting. According to The New York Times, people briefed on the case said another businessman, Xu Ming, had offered most of the bribes, but Bo did not address that in the morning session.
The BBC reported that Bo is expected to be found guilty. The 64-year-old's downfall was seen as the biggest political shake-up to hit the Chinese ruling elite in decades. He was seen as a top leader and a candidate for promotion to the Politburo Standing Committee, China's seven-member top decision-making body.
Bo could face the death penalty, though financial crimes are often commuted to life sentences. According to the BBC, the hearings are to last two days with a verdict likely to come in early September.
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Photo: Chinese state media