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

Video In US, Columbus Day Still Generates Controversy

Holiday marks date Columbus discovered Americas, but some are offended by legacy because he enslaved many natives he encountered More

Video Through Sports, Austria Tries to Give Migrants Traction

With 85,000 people expected to claim asylum in Austria this year, its government has made integration through joint physical activities a key objective More

Video Kickboxing Champion Shares Sport With Young Migrants

Pouring into Europe by hundreds of thousands, some migrants, especially youngsters, are finding sports a way to integrate into new host countries More

This forum has been closed.
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.
Amnesty Accuses Saudi Coalition of ‘War Crimes’ in Yemeni
Henry Ridgwell
October 12, 2015 4:03 PM
The human rights group Amnesty International has accused the Saudi-led coalition of war crimes in airstrikes against Houthi rebels in Yemen. Henry Ridgwell reports the group says hundreds of civilians have been killed in strikes on residential areas.

Video Amnesty Accuses Saudi Coalition of ‘War Crimes’ in Yemen

The human rights group Amnesty International has accused the Saudi-led coalition of war crimes in airstrikes against Houthi rebels in Yemen. Henry Ridgwell reports the group says hundreds of civilians have been killed in strikes on residential areas.

Video No Resolution in Sight to US House Speaker Drama

Uncertainty grips the U.S. Congress, where no consensus replacement has emerged to succeed Republican House Speaker John Boehner after his surprise resignation announcement. Half of Congress is effectively leaderless weeks before America risks defaulting on its national debt and enduring another partial government shutdown.

Video New Art Exhibit Focuses on Hope

Out of struggle and despair often comes hope. That idea is behind a new art exhibit at the American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore, Maryland. "The Big Hope Show" features 25 artists, some of whom overcame trauma and loss. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.

Video Columbus Day Still Generates Controversy as US Holiday

The second Monday of October is Columbus Day in the United States, honoring explorer Christopher Columbus and his discovery of the Americas. The achievement is a source of pride for many, but for some the holiday is marked by controversy. Adrianna Zhang has more.

Video Anger Simmers as Turks Begin to Bury Blast Victims

The Turkish army carried out new air strikes on Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) targets on Sunday, a day after the banned group announced a unilateral cease fire. The air raids apparently are in retaliation for the Saturday bombing in Turkey's capital Ankara that killed at least 95 people and wounded more than 200 others. But as Zlatica Hoke reports, there are suspicions that Islamic State is involved.

Video Bombings a Sign of Turkey’s Deep Troubles

Turkey has begun a three-day period of mourning following Saturday’s bomb attacks in the capital, Ankara, that killed nearly 100 people. With contentious parliamentary elections three weeks away, the attacks highlight the challenges Turkey is facing as it struggles with ethnic friction, an ongoing migrant crisis, and growing tensions with Russia. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Video Afghanistan’s Progress Aided by US Academic Center

Recent combat in Afghanistan has shifted world attention back to the central Asian nation’s continuing civil war and economic challenges. But, while there are many vexing problems facing Afghanistan’s government and people, a group of academics in Omaha, Nebraska has kept a strong faith in the nation’s future through programs to improve education. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Omaha, Nebraska.

Video House Republicans in Chaos as Speaker Favorite Withdraws

The Republican widely expected to become the next speaker of the House of Representatives shocked his colleagues Thursday by announcing he was withdrawing his candidacy. The decision by Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy means the race to succeed retiring Speaker John Boehner is now wide open. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.

Video German, US Officials Investigate Volkswagen

German officials have taken steps to restore some of the reputation their car industry has lost after a recent Volkswagen diesel emissions scandal. Authorities have searched Volkswagen headquarters and other locations in an effort to identify the culprits in the creation of software that helps cheat on emission tests. Meanwhile, a group of lawmakers in Washington held a hearing to get to the bottom of the cheating strategy that was first discovered in the United States. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Why Are Gun Laws So Hard for Congress to Tackle?

Since taking office, President Barack Obama has spoken out or issued statements about 15 mass shootings. The most recent shooting, in which 10 people were killed at a community college, sparked outrage over the nation's gun laws. But changing those laws isn't as easy as many think. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.

Video In 'He Named Me Malala,' Guggenheim Finds Normal in Extraordinary

Davis Guggenheim’s documentary "He Named Me Malala" offers a probing look into the life of 18-year-old Malala Yousafsai, the Pakistani teenager who, in 2012, was shot in the head by the Taliban for standing up for her right to education in her hometown in Pakistan's Swat Valley. Guggenheim shows how, since then, Malala has become a symbol not as a victim of brutal violence, but as an advocate for girls’ education throughout the world. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.

Video Paintable Solar Cells May Someday Replace Silicon-Based Panels

Solar panels today are still factory-manufactured, with the use of some highly toxic substances such as cadmium chloride. But a researcher at St. Mary’s College, Maryland, says we are close to being able to create solar panels by painting them on a suitable surface, using nontoxic solutions. VOA’s George Putic reports.

VOA Blogs