News / Asia

Bo Xilai Trial Begins in China

In this image taken from video, disgraced politician Bo Xilai, center, stands in the courtroom, flanked by police guards at Jinan Intermediate People's Court in eastern China's Shandong province, Aug. 22, 2013.
In this image taken from video, disgraced politician Bo Xilai, center, stands in the courtroom, flanked by police guards at Jinan Intermediate People's Court in eastern China's Shandong province, Aug. 22, 2013.
Disgraced Chinese politician Bo Xilai has denied charges of bribery against him, as he stood trial Thursday in one of China's most explosive political scandals in decades. 
 
Bo, who was in line to become one of China's top leaders, is also being tried for corruption and abuse of power related to the alleged cover up of his wife's murder of a British businessman.
 
Gallo Q&A with Fred Wang of VOA's Mandarin Service who is covering Bo Xilai Trial
Gallo Q&A with Fred Wang of VOA's Mandarin Service who is covering Bo Xilai Triali
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X

Thursday's hearing focused primarily on charges that Bo illegally accepted over $4 million over the course of several years. In particular, Bo rejected charges that he took bribes from a real estate developer in the eastern city of Dalian.
 
Bo Xilai  

  • Father Bo Yibo was one of the founders of the People's Republic of China
  • Bo Xilai joined the Communist Party in 1980
  • Was mayor of Dailan, governor of Liaoning province and commerce minister
  • Named leader of Chongqing city in 2007 and ascended to membership in the Politburo
  • Gained prominence for launching crackdown on corruption in Chongqing
  • Expelled form Communist Party in September, 2012
  • Found guilty of bribery, corruption and abuse of power in September, 2013, sentenced to life in prison
Court excerpts show Bo, who served as mayor and party chief in Dalian, retracted an earlier confession about the bribery, saying his "mind was a blank" and he did not fully understand the charges against him.
 
He also attacked the testimony of the developer, Tang Xiaolin, calling him a "crazy dog" and saying the developer was trying to frame him for the crime.
 
Thursday's trial was the first time Bo, 64, had been seen in public since his arrest in March 2012. A picture released by the court showed him standing somberly, his hands folded, next to two policemen in the dock. 
 
State broadcaster CCTV reported the trial in Jinan, the capital of eastern Shandong Province, will last two days and that a verdict is expected in early September. 
 
The official Xinhua news agency said Bo expressed hope the proceedings can be held "in a reasonable and fair manner" and follow proper legal processes. 
 
Outside the court, police blocked off streets with large plastic barriers. Nearby, a few Bo supporters who held a protest questioning the fairness of the trial were quickly scattered by police for a second straight day.
 
  • A black minivan (behind silver Mercedes minivan) believed to be carrying disgraced Chinese politician Bo Xilai arrives at the Jinan Intermediate People's Court ahead of the fifth day of Bo's trial in Jinan, Shandong province, August 26, 2013. 
  • A policeman guards the entrance of the Jinan Intermediate People's Court in Jinan, Shandong province, August 26, 2013. 
  • A minivan believed to be carrying disgraced Chinese politician Bo Xilai leaves the Jinan Intermediate People's Court after the end of the fifth day of Bo's trial in Jinan, Shandong province, August 26, 2013. 
  • A minivan (C) believed to be carrying disgraced Chinese politician Bo Xilai arrives at the Jinan Intermediate People's Court ahead of the fifth day of Bo's trial in Jinan, Shandong province, August 26, 2013. 
  • Bo Xilai leaves the Jinan Intermediate People's Court building in a vehicle in Jinan, Shandong province in this photo taken by Kyodo, August 23, 2013.
  • Gu Kailai is seen in a still image taken from an August 10, 2013 video provided by the Jinan Intermediate People's Court, recorded at an unknown location and screened on August 23, 2013 during Bo Xilai's trial.
  • In this photo released by the Jinan Intermediate People's Court, disgraced politician Bo Xila is flanked by police officers during his trial at the court in eastern China's Shandong province, August 22, 2013.
  • A TV screen shows a news report of disgraced politician Bo Xilai standing in the courtroom, flanked by police guards at Jinan Intermediate People's Court in eastern China's Shandong province, in Hong Kong, August 22, 2013.
  • A man wearing a t-shirt with a picture of former Chinese leader Mao Zedong holds a fan with the words "Bo Xilai" near the Jinan Intermediate People's Court in Jinan, August 22, 2013.
  • A supporter holds a placard during a rally behind a police barricade near the Jinan Intermediate People's Court, August 22, 2013. (Dongfang/VOA)
  • A woman protests outside the Jinan Intermediate People's Court in Jinan, eastern China's Shandong province, August 21, 2013.
  • Chinese police officers attempt to remove a woman protesting with the words "unjust" written on a banner outside the Jinan Intermediate People's Court in Jinan, August 21, 2013. (Dongfang/VOA)
  • Chinese police officers march out of the Jinan Intermediate People's Court in Jinan in eastern China's Shandong province, August 21, 2013.
  • Chinese police officers march out of the Jinan Intermediate People's Court in Jinan in eastern China's Shandong province, August 21, 2013.
  • Chinese police officers march out of the Jinan Intermediate People's Court in Jinan in eastern China's Shandong province, August 21, 2013.

Though state media said 19 journalists were allowed into the courtroom, foreign media were kept out and the trial was not televised, reflecting the government's sensitivity about the case.
 
Fred Wang with VOA's Mandarin service is with other journalists watching the proceedings from a media center set up at a hotel near the court. 
 
"We waited in a newsroom for about three to four hours, just watching Weibo, the Chinese Twitter, to release one picture after another," Wang said. "We didn't have any access [to the courtroom] at all. Then a spokesman just read a news release and didn't answer any questions."
 
But official government microblogs did provide what some called an unprecedented, real-time account of the proceedings, as prosecutors laid out the charges against Bo. 
 
Kerry Brown, who heads the University of Sydney's China Studies Center, said the move reflects the Communist Party's acknowledgement that the scandal is on the mind of China's population.
 
"It shows the media terrain has changed in China. I think there is a sort of appetite to know about this case, and the party has to satisfy that," Brown said.
 
Despite the increased openness, there is little doubt among China watchers that Bo will be found guilty. Brown, a former British diplomat in Beijing, said the outcome has already been decided by the top members of the party.
 
"This is not a trial that we can foresee Bo walking free from this court in Jinan. It's just not going to happen. I think we all know that this has been predetermined," Brown said.
 
Timeline of the Bo Xilai Scandal

2012
  • February 2: Bo's key ally and Chongqing police chief Wang Lijun is demoted
  • February 6: Wang visits U.S. consulate in Chengdu
  • March 15: Bo dismissed as Chongqing party chief
  • March 26: Britain asks China to investigate November death of Briton Neil Heywood in Chongqing
  • April 10: Bo suspended from Communist Party posts. China says Gu is being investigated for Heywood's death
  • August 20: Gu given suspended death sentence after confessing to Heywood's murder
  • September 24: Wang convicted of defection, power abuse and bribe taking
  • September 28: Communist Party expels Bo


2013
  • July 25: Bo indicted for bribery, corruption, abuse of power
  • August 22: Bo trial begins in Jinan
  • September 22: Bo sentenced to life in prison
Bo is a former member of the Communist Party's 25-member Politburo and ex-party chief of the southwest megacity, Chongqing. Before his downfall, he was thought to be a top contender for the elite Politburo Standing Committee at a leadership transition last year.
 
His downfall began last February, when his police chief Wang Lijun fled to the U.S. consulate in Chengdu. There he told American diplomats about Bo's alleged role in covering up the murder of British businessman Neil Heywood.
 
Bo's wife, Gu Kailai, was later convicted of murdering the Briton following a failed financial deal. Wang, meanwhile, was convicted on charges including defection, abuse of power and taking bribes.
 
Prosecutors on Thursday said Bo's son, Bo Guagua, and his wife were involved in accepting some the bribes. When testimony was presented that his wife, Gu Kailai, had acknowledged receiving some of the money, Bo dismissed her testimony as "laughable."
 
Until now, it was unclear how to what extent Gu Kailai's testimony would play in Bo's trial. Recent media reports had suggested that Gu had agreed to testify in order to reach a deal to protect their son, who is studying in the United States.

You May Like

Video Positive Messaging Helps Revamp Ethiopia's Image

In country once connected with war, poverty, famine, headlines now focus on fast-growing economy, diplomatic reputation More

Russian Activist Thinks Kremlin Ordered Nemtsov's Death

Alexei Navalny says comments of Russian liberals who think government wasn't involved are 'nonsense.' More

Video Land Disputes Rise Amid Uganda Oil Boom

Investors appear to be cashing in by selling parcels of land to multiple buyers More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: YourErros from: Do
August 22, 2013 8:39 AM
Prosecutors on Thursday said Bo's son, Bo Guagua, and his wife were involved in accepting some the bribes. Should be?: Prosecutors on Thursday said Bo's son, Bo Guagua, and his wife were involved in accepting some OF the bribes. Until now, it was unclear how to what extent Gu Kailai's testimony would play in Should be?: Until now, it was unclear XX to what extent Gu Kailai's testimony would play in

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Positive Messaging Transforms Ethiopia's Imagei
X
Marthe van der Wolf
March 03, 2015 9:03 PM
Ethiopia was once known for famine and droughts. Now, headlines more often point to its fast-growing economy and its emergence as a regional peacemaker. How has Addis Ababa changed the narrative? VOA's Marthe van der Wolf reports.
Video

Video Positive Messaging Transforms Ethiopia's Image

Ethiopia was once known for famine and droughts. Now, headlines more often point to its fast-growing economy and its emergence as a regional peacemaker. How has Addis Ababa changed the narrative? VOA's Marthe van der Wolf reports.
Video

Video Cyber War Rages Between Iran, US

A newly published report indicates Iran and the United States have increased their cyber attacks on each other, even as their top diplomats are working toward an agreement to guarantee Iran does not develop a nuclear weapon and to free Iran from international sanctions. The development is part of a growing global trend. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video Answers Elude Families of MH370 Passengers

For the families on board Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, an airline official’s statement nearly one year ago that the plane had lost contact with air traffic control at 2:40 AM is the only thing that remains confirmed. William Ide reports.
Video

Video Land Disputes Arise Amid Uganda Oil Boom

Ugandan police say there has been a sharp increase in land disputes, with 10 new cases being reported each day. The claims come amid an oil boom as investors appear to be cashing in by selling parcels of land to multiple buyers. Meanwhile, the people who have been living on the land for decades are chased away, sometimes with a heavy hand. VOA's Serginho Roosblad reports.
Video

Video In Russia, Many Doubt Opposition Leader's Killer Will Be Found

The funeral has been held in Moscow for Boris Nemtsov, the opposition leader who was assassinated late Friday just meters from the Kremlin. Nemtsov joins a growing list of outspoken critics of Russia under the leadership of President Vladimir Putin who are believed to have been murdered for their work. VOA’s Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video Simulated Astronauts Get Taste of Mars, in Hawaii

For generations, people have dreamed of traveling to Mars to explore Earth's closest planetary neighbor. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports that while space agencies like NASA are planning manned missions to the planet, some volunteers in Hawaii are learning how humans will cope with months in isolation on a Mars base.
Video

Video Destruction of Iraq Artifacts Shocks Archaeologists

The city of Mosul was once one of the most culturally rich and religiously diverse cities in Iraq. That tradition is under attack by members of the Islamic State who have made Mosul their capital city. The Mosul Museum is the latest target of the group’s campaign of terror and destruction, and is of grave concern to archaeologists around the world. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video Smartphones May Help in Diagnosing HIV

Diagnosing infections such as HIV requires expensive clinical tests, making the procedure too costly for many poor patients or those living in remote areas. But a new technology called lab-on-a-chip may make the tests more accessible to many. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Refugees Complain of Harassment in Pakistan

Afghan officials have expressed concern over reports of a crackdown on Afghan refugees in Pakistan following the Peshawar school attack in December. Reports of mass arrests and police harassment coupled with fear of an uncertain future are making life difficult for a population that fled its homeland to escape war. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports from Islamabad.
Video

Video Ukrainian Volunteers Prepare to Defend Mariupol

Despite the ongoing ceasefire in Ukraine, soldiers in the city of Mariupol fear that pro-Russian separatists may be getting ready to attack. The separatists must take or encircle the city if they wish to gain land access to Crimea, which was annexed by Russia early last year. But Ukrainian forces, many of them volunteers, say they are determined to defend it. Patrick Wells reports from Mariupol.
Video

Video Moscow Restaurants Suffer in Bad Economy, Look for Opportunity

As low oil prices and Western sanctions force Russia's economy into recession, thousands of Moscow restaurants are expected to close their doors. Restaurant owners face rents tied to foreign currency, while rising food prices mean Russians are spending less when they dine out. One entrepreneur in Moscow has started a dinner kit delivery service for those who want to cook at home to save money but not skimp on quality. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Presidential Hopefuls Battle for Conservative Hearts and Minds

One after another, presumptive Republican presidential contenders auditioned for conservative support this week at the Conservative Political Action Conference held outside Washington. The rhetoric was tough as a large field of potential candidates tried to woo conservative support with red-meat attacks on President Barack Obama and Democrats in Congress. VOA Political Columnist Jim Malone takes a look.
Video

Video Southern US Cities Preserve Civil Rights Heritage to Boost Tourism

There has been a surge of interest in the American civil rights movement of the 1950s and '60s, thanks in part to the Hollywood motion picture "Selma." Five decades later, communities in the South are embracing the dark chapters of their past with hopes of luring tourism dollars. VOA's Chris Simkins reports.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More