News / Asia

Bo Xilai Admits Mistakes in Murder Probe

In this image taken from video, former Chinese politician Bo Xilai addresses a court at Jinan Intermediate People's Court in eastern China's Shandong province, Aug. 24, 2013.
In this image taken from video, former Chinese politician Bo Xilai addresses a court at Jinan Intermediate People's Court in eastern China's Shandong province, Aug. 24, 2013.
VOA News
Ousted Chinese politician Bo Xilai admitted in court Saturday that he made mistakes in connection with his wife's murder of a British businessman, but denied criminal responsbility in the scandal.

Bo told the court he is "ashamed" of his errors, because they hurt the reputation of the Communist Party and the country.

The former rising star in China's leadership is on trial on charges of abusing his power. He is accused of trying to obstruct police investigating the murder in 2011 of Briton Neil Heywood, and also faces bribery charges and corruption charges for allegedly embezzling state funds. Bo's wife, Gu Khailai, was found guilty of murdering Heywood and is now in prison.

During Saturday's court proceedings, Bo denied allegations he embezzled $800,000 from a government building project that ended up in his wife's account, but accepted some responsibility for not paying more attention to the transaction or stopping the illegal transfer. He has already told the court his wife is insane, and questioned the credibility of her testimony against him.

Saturday's proceedings included testimony from Wang Lijun, Bo's former top aide and the Chongqing police chief, who exposed the murder scandal last year when he fled to a U.S. consulate in fear of reprisals.

The Bo trial enters its fourth day on Sunday.

With the proceedings in Jinan closed to Western reporters, Bo's comments are taken from state media reports and lengthy trial transcripts posted on Chinese social media.

In court Saturday, Bo admitted slapping and dismissing Wang Lijun as police chief after Wang told Bo that his wife, Gu Khailai, had killed Heywood.

Prosecutors say Heywood was killed as a result of a financial dispute with Gu. After her conviction last year, Gu was given a suspended death sentence -- essentially a life term in prison.

Wang testified Saturday that Bo drew blood when he hit him. The ex-policeman said he turned to the U.S. consulate in Chengdu for help because he feared for his safety.

Bo was removed as party secretary of Chongqing and ousted from the Politburo last year following Wang's disclosure to American diplomats of evidence about the Bo family's involvement in the murder. Wang was sentenced last year to 15 years in prison for covering up the killing.

Saturday's proceedings followed a dramatic video posted online in which Bo's imprisoned wife said he was aware that a wealthy businessman had given the family a string of expensive gifts, described by prosecutors as bribes. The prerecorded video released Friday provided the public's first glimpse of Gu since her sentencing.

Analysts say it is almost certain that China's top political leaders decided before Bo's trial even began that he would be found guilty and receive a lengthy prison sentence, as in other sensitive political trials in China.

The trial has already proved more dramatic and lasted longer than anticipated. A verdict is not expected until early September.

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