World News

Bo Xilai Admits Mistakes in Murder Probe

Ousted Chinese politician Bo Xilai admitted in court Saturday that he made mistakes in responding to reports linking his wife to the 2011 murder of a British businessman. Bo, however, says he did not engage in criminal activity.

Bo, whose corruption trial resumes Sunday, told the court he is "ashamed" of his errors, which he said occurred after his former top aide, Chongqing police chief Wang Lijun, informed him that his wife had killed Briton Neil Heywood.

Bo said he responded to the information by slapping the police chief in the face because he initially thought Wang was trying to frame his wife, Gu Kailai, for the crime. Gu was later convicted of the November 2011 murder and is now serving a life sentence.

Saturday's proceedings included testimony from Wang, who said he fled to the U.S. embassy after his confrontation with Bo, because he feared for his safety.

Bo is also facing corruption charges for allegedly embezzling state funds. He has formally denied stealing $800,000 from a government building project that ended up in his wife's account.

With the proceedings in Jinan closed to Western journalists, reports of trial testimony
come from state media and lengthy trial transcripts posted on Chinese social media.

Bo was removed as party secretary of Chongqing and ousted from the Politburo last year following police chief Wang's reports to U.S. diplomats about the Bo family's involvement in the murder. Wang himself is serving a 15-year prison term for allegedly covering up the Heywood killing.

On Friday, Chinese authorities posted a dramatic video 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 provided the public's first glimpse of Gu since her sentencing last year.

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 -- a routine outcome in sensitive political trials in China.

It is not clear when the trial will conclude. But Chinese media reports say a verdict is not expected before early September.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Social Media Aids Counter-Terrorism Investigationsi
Katherine Gypson
December 01, 2015 10:06 PM
In the aftermath of the Paris attacks, officials carried out waves of raids and arrests to break up terror cells. As VOA's Katherine Gypson reports, social media can be a key tool for investigators.

Video Social Media Aids Counter-Terrorism Investigations

In the aftermath of the Paris attacks, officials carried out waves of raids and arrests to break up terror cells. As VOA's Katherine Gypson reports, social media can be a key tool for investigators.

Video Russia Marks World AIDS Day With Grim News

While HIV infection rates have steadied or even declined in many European countries, the caseload has grown rapidly in Russia, as VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow. Over half of the new infections were transmitted through injection drug use.

Video Pakistan Hit Hard by Global Warming

As world leaders meet in Paris to craft a new global agreement aimed at cutting climate-changing greenhouse-gas emissions, many developing countries are watching closely for the final results. While most developing nations contribute much less to global warming than developed countries, they often feel the effects to a disproportionate degree. As Saud Zafar reports from Karachi, one such nation is Pakistan. Aisha Khalid narrates his report.

Video With HIV, Can We Get to Zero?

The theme of this year's World AIDS Day is "Getting to Zero." The U.N. says new HIV infections have been reduced by 35 percent since 2000 and AIDS-related deaths are down by 42 percent since the peak in 2004. VOA's Carol Pearson takes a look at what it might take to actually have an AIDS-free generation.

Video Political Motives Seen Behind Cancelled Cambodian Water Festival

For the fourth time in the five years since more than 350 people were killed in a stampede at Cambodia’s annual water festival, authorities canceled the event this year. Officials blamed environmental reasons as the cause, but many see it as fallout from rising political tensions with a fresh wave of ruling party intimidation against the opposition. David Boyle and Kimlong Meng report from Phnom Penh.

Video African Circus Gives At-Risk Youth a 2nd Chance

Ethiopia hosted the first African Circus Arts Festival this past weekend with performers from seven different African countries. Most of the performers are youngsters coming form challenging backgrounds who say the circus gave them a second chance.

Video US Lawmakers Brace for End-of-Year Battles

U.S. lawmakers are returning to Washington for Congress’ final working weeks of the year. And, as VOA's Michael Bowman reports, a full slate of legislative business awaits them, from keeping the federal government open to resolving a battle with the White House over the admittance of Syrian refugees.

Video Taiwan Looks for Role in South China Sea Dispute

The Taiwanese government is one of several that claims territory in the hotly contested South China Sea, but Taipei has long been sidelined in the dispute, overshadowed by China. Now, as the Philippines challenges Beijing’s claims in an international court at The Hague, Taipei is looking to publicly assert its claims. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.

Video After Terrorist Attacks, Support for Refugees Fades

The terrorists who killed and injured almost 500 people around Paris this month are mostly French or Belgian nationals. But at least two apparently took advantage of Europe’s migrant crisis to sneak into the region. The discovery has hardened views about legitimate refugees, including those fleeing the same extremist violence that hit the French capital. Lisa Bryant has this report for VOA from the Paris suburb of Cergy-Pontoise

Video Syrian Refugees in US Express Concern for Those Left Behind

Syrian immigrants in the United States are concerned about the negative tide of public opinion and the politicians who want to block a U.S. plan to accept 10,000 Syrian refugees. Zlatica Hoke reports many Americans are fighting to dispel suspicions linking refugees to terrorists.

Video Thais Send Security Concerns Down the River

As Thailand takes in the annual Loy Krathong festival, many ponder the country’s future and security. Steve Sandford reports from Chiang Mai.

Video Islamic State Unfazed by Losses in Iraq, Syria

Progress in the U.S.-led effort to beat Islamic State on its home turf in Iraq and Syria has led some to speculate the terror group may be growing desperate. But counterterror officials say that is not the case, and warn the recent spate of terror attacks is merely part of the group’s evolution. VOA National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more.

VOA Blogs