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.
TEXT SIZE - +
William Ide
— 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

Multimedia Anti-Keystone XL Protests Continue

Demonstrators are worried about pipeline's effect on climate change, their traditional way of life, health and safety More

Thailand's Political Power Struggle Continues

Court gave Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra until May 2 to prepare her defense over abuse of power charges but uncertainty remains over election timing More

Malaysia Plane Search Tests Limits of Ocean Mapping Technology

Expert tells VOA existing equipment’s maximum operating depth is around 6 kilometers as operation continues on ocean bed for any trace of MH370 More

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.
Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Messagei
X
Penelope Poulou
April 22, 2014 5:53 PM
Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Message

Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pro-Russian Separatists Plan 'Federalization Referendum' in Eastern Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine say they plan to move forward next month with a referendum vote for greater autonomy, despite the Geneva agreement reached with Russia, the U.S. and Ukraine to end the political conflict. VOA's Brian Padden reports from the city of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video International Students Learn Film Production in World's Movie Capital

Hollywood - which is part of Los Angeles - is the movie capital of the world, and many aspiring filmmakers go there in hopes of breaking into the movie business. Mike O'Sullivan reports that regional universities are also a magnet for students who hope to become producers or directors.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid