News / Asia

    China Prosecutors Push for Severe Bo Xilai Sentence

    In this image taken from video, Chinese politician Bo Xilai looks up in a court room at Jinan Intermediate People's Court in Jinan, eastern China's Shandong province, Aug. 26, 2013.
    In this image taken from video, Chinese politician Bo Xilai looks up in a court room at Jinan Intermediate People's Court in Jinan, eastern China's Shandong province, Aug. 26, 2013.
    Chinese prosecutors wrapped up their case Monday in the trial of fallen political star Bo Xilai by urging the court to impose a severe punishment on the once heralded Communist Party chief of Chongqing.

    "Following an intense debate in court today, Bo’s lawyers delivered their closing remarks and the chief judge announced the conclusion of the trial," said court spokesman Liu Yanjie after five days of hearings. "The sentencing will be released at a later date yet.”

    The prosecution says the evidence in the case clearly shows that Bo is guilty of taking bribes, corruption and abuse of power. They urged the court to impose a stiff sentence because of the defendant's unwillingness to admit guilt.

    Defense lawyers argued in closing remarks Monday that, aside from allowing a businessman to purchase airline tickets for his wife and son, Bo's career was free of corruption from 2005 onward.

    Bo Xilai’s trial was unique in many ways. Although foreign media were barred from attending the proceedings, the press and public in China followed updates from the courtroom closely. At times the transcripts read like a soap opera and gave the public a rare glimpse into the entitlements families of China’s high-ranking leaders enjoy.

    Most Chinese officials readily admit their guilt when put on trial and proceedings are typically swift. Bo instead put up a spirited fight, but he did not turn the trial into a political event by denouncing opponents or questioning the court's legitimacy.   

    One by one, during the trial, Bo attacked the credibility of almost all of the witnesses who testified against him, including his wife. Earlier he said that she was insane and argued that as a convicted murderer her testimony lacked credibility.

    He has said he had an affair in the late 1990s which prompted his wife to move overseas.

    In court Monday, Bo dropped another bombshell, alleging that his former top lieutenant, Wang Lijun, was having an affair with his wife Gu Kailai. Bo says the affair is the reason Wang fled to the U.S. consulate in Chengdu, setting in motion the events that led to his detention.

    Chinese state media have given only limited coverage to Bo’s rebuttals in court and all but condemned him of his crimes. But, his comments have been readily available online and many legal scholars say the transparency in the trial is a step in the right direction.
     
    “There is no doubt that this trial is a big step forward in terms of transparency and public openness," said Zhu Wenqi, a legal professor at Beijing’s Renmin University, "particularly if you compare it with other trials such as the gang of four [following the Cultural Revolution] and the trial of Beijing’s mayor [Chen Xitong] and the way those cases were handled.”

    Bo was once widely popular in China and still has some supporters. Political analysts say that if it was not for the exposure of his wife’s murder of a British businessman, he could have been among a core group of men now leading the country.

    Instead, he could face a death sentence. Prosecutors allege that Bo received some $3.5 million in bribes from two businessmen and extorted more than $800,000 in public funds. Bo denies those charges and largely blames his wife. The prosecution says the corrupt funds were funneled to Bo through his wife and son.

    A verdict in the trial is expected early next month.

    You May Like

    Native Americans Ask: What About Our Water Supply?

    They say they have been facing a dangerous water contaminant for decades - uranium – but the problem has received far less attention than water contamination by lead in Flint, Michigan

    Pakistan's President Urges Nation Not to Celebrate Valentine's Day

    Mamnoon Hussain criticizes Valentine's Day, which falls on Sunday this year, as a Western import that threatens to undermine the Islamic values of Pakistan

    Mother of IS Supporter: Son Was Peaceful, 'Role Model'

    Somali-American Abdirizak Mohamed Warsame pleaded guilty Thursday to charges of conspiring to provide material support to Islamic State militants

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Two-thirds of World Faces Water Shortagei
    X
    February 12, 2016 7:31 PM
    Four billion people — or two out of every three on the planet — do not have enough water to meet their basic needs. That is far greater than previously thought, according to a new study that presents a more accurate picture of the problem. As VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports, the findings will help policymakers and the public craft solutions to address the threat.
    Video

    Video Two-thirds of World Faces Water Shortage

    Four billion people — or two out of every three on the planet — do not have enough water to meet their basic needs. That is far greater than previously thought, according to a new study that presents a more accurate picture of the problem. As VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports, the findings will help policymakers and the public craft solutions to address the threat.
    Video

    Video Gateway to Mecca: Historical Old Jeddah

    Local leader Sami Nawar's family has been in the Old City of Jeddah for hundreds of years and takes us on a tour of this ancient route to Mecca, also believed to be the final resting place of Adam's wife, Eve.
    Video

    Video New Technology Aims to Bring Election Transparency to Uganda

    A team of recent graduates from Uganda’s Makerere University has created a mobile application designed to help monitor elections and expose possible rigging. The developers say the app, called E-Poll, will make Uganda's democratic process fairer. From Kampala, VOA's Serginho Roosblad reports.
    Video

    Video As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Fill

    Aid workers on the Greek island of Lesbos say they are struggling to bury the increasing number of bodies of refugees that have been recovered or washed up ashore in recent months.  The graveyards are all full, they say, yet as tens of thousands of people clamor to get out of Syria, it is clear refugees will still be coming in record numbers. For VOA, Hamada Elrasam reports from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video Russia Bristles at NATO Expansion in E. Europe

    Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is meeting Friday with the head of NATO after the Western military alliance and the United States announced plans for the biggest military build-up in Europe since the Cold War. Russia has called NATO's moves a threat to stability in Europe. But NATO says the troop rotations and equipment are aimed at reassuring allies concerned about Russia as VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video To Fight Zika, Scientists Target Mosquitoes

    Mosquitoes strike again. The Zika virus outbreak is just the latest headline-grabbing epidemic carried by these biting pests, but researchers are fighting back with new ways to control them. VOA's Steve Baragona takes a look.
    Video

    Video Mosul Refugees Talk About Life Under IS

    A top U.S. intelligence official told Congress this week that a planned Iraqi-led operation to re-take the city of Mosul from Islamic State militants is unlikely to take place this year. IS took over the city in June 2014, and for the past year and a half, Mosul residents have been held captive under its rule. VOA's Zana Omar talked to some families who managed to escape. Bronwyn Benito narrates his report.
    Video

    Video Scientists Make Progress Toward Better Diabetes Treatment, Cure

    Scientists at two of the top U.S. universities say they have made significant advances in their quest to find a more efficient treatment for diabetes and eventually a cure. According to the International Diabetes Federation, the disease affects more than 370 million people worldwide. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video NATO to Target Migrant Smugglers

    NATO has announced plans to send warships to the Aegean Sea to target migrant smugglers in the alliance's most direct intervention so far since a wave of people began trying to reach European shores.
    Video

    Video Russia's Catholics, Orthodox Hopeful on Historic Pope-Patriarch Meeting

    Russia's Catholic minority has welcomed an historic first meeting Friday in Cuba between the Pope and the Patriarch of Russia's dominant Orthodox Church. The Orthodox Church split with Rome in 1054 and analysts say politics, both church and state, have been driving the relationship in the centuries since. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Used Books Get a New Life on the Streets of Lagos

    Used booksellers are importing books from abroad and selling them on the streets of Africa's largest city. What‘s popular with readers may surprise you. Chris Stein reports from Lagos.
    Video

    Video After NH Primaries All Eyes on South Carolina

    After Tuesday's primary in New Hampshire, US presidential candidates swiftly turned to the next election coming up in South Carolina. The so-called “first-in-the-South” poll may help further narrow down the field of candidates. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video Smartphone Helps Grow Vegetables

    One day, you may be using your smartphone to grow your vegetables. A Taipei-based company has developed a farm cube — a small, enclosed ecosystem designed to grow plants indoors. The environment inside is automatically adjusted by the cube, but it can also be controlled through an app. VOA's Deborah Block has more on the gardening system.
    Video

    Video Exhibit Turns da Vinci’s Drawings Into Real Objects

    In addition to being a successful artist, Renaissance genius Leonardo da Vinci designed many practical machines, some of which are still in use today, although in different forms. But a number of his projects were never realized — until today. VOA’s George Putic reports.