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September 28, 2012

Chinese Communist Party Expels Bo Xilai

by William Ide

Chinese state media are reporting that Bo Xilai, once one of China's rising political stars, has been expelled from the Communist Party and that he will also face criminal charges.

After months of anticipation and on the eve of a week long national holiday in China, state media are reporting that the Chinese Communist Party has not only expelled Bo Xilai, but released a list of allegations against him including abuse of power, bribe taking and other crimes.

A report from Xinhua news agency says a party investigation of Bo revealed serious violations in several local postings he previously held as well as during his tenure with China's Ministry of Commerce. It also listed violations during the time he served as the party's top leader in the southern metropolis of Chongqing.

​​The report says that Bo used his post for his own personal gain and his family to funnel in bribes from others. The allegations stretch back more than a decade and up to the point that he was removed from his post in Chongqing earlier this year.

Zhang Ming, who is a political scientist at People's University in Beijing, says he is surprised that the party released so much information about Bo and his misdeeds.

Zhang says that since the investigation has produced some extensive results and that since those results have been public it definitely means he might receive a harsh sentence.

State media say that Bo will be handed over to authorities for criminal investigation.

Earlier this year, Bo was widely seen as a rising member of the Communist Party and expected to win a powerful spot in China's new party leadership during a once-in-a-decade reshuffle that is set to begin next month. But, a murder scandal involving his wife Gu Kailai and his former police chief in Chongqing Wang Lijun cut short his political ambitions and has overshadowed preparations for the closely watched political event ever since it was made public earlier this year.

A little over a month ago, Bo's wife received a suspended death sentence after confessing to killing British businessman Neil Heywood. Bo's former police chief Wang Lijun was sentenced to 15 years in prison earlier this week for initially trying to cover up the murder and other crimes.

State media say that Bo should be held responsible for the Wang Lijun case as well as Gu's murder and accused him abusing his power and committing grave mistakes in connection with the case. It was not immediately clear what was meant by Bo's responsibility in the murder.

At the same time China's state media carried news of Bo's expulsion and list of charges they also announced that the highly anticipated party congress will be held next month on November 8. During the congress, China will see President Hu Jintao step down as party chairman after 10 years as party boss. Hu will be replaced by China's Vice President Xi Jinping.

Zhang Ming says that getting Bo's case out of the way before the congress begins was important.

Zhang says that while some may have thought about handling Bo's case in a low key way, they also knew that if they did not deal with Bo's crimes, he might become a populist leader. Zhang adds that Bo could have made the leadership transition difficult for those will take over next month. 

Bo was and still is widely popular among some residents in the southern city of Chongqing where he last served.  Many residents believe he is innocent.  He gained prominence by launching a crackdown on corruption.

Photo Gallery: Bo Xilai Scandal

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