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

Beloved Lion Killing Sparks Virtual, Real Life Outrage

Twitter, as usual, was epicenter for anger directed at Palmer, with some questioning his manhood, calling for him to be released into the wild More

Video Booming London Property Market a Haven for Dirty Money

Billions of dollars from proceeds of crime, especially from Russia, being laundered through London property market, according to anti-corruption activists More

Video Scouts' Decision on Gays Meets Acceptance in Founder's Hometown

One former Scout leader thinks organization will move past political, social debate, get back to its primary focus of turning boys into good citizens 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.
Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’i
X
July 29, 2015 9:34 PM
Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’

Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Hometown of Boy Scouts of America Founder reacts to Gay Leader Decision

Ottawa, Illinois, is the hometown of W.D. Boyce, who founded the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. In Ottawa, where Scouting remains an important part of the legacy of the community, the end of the organization's ban on openly gay adult leaders was seen as inevitable. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video 'Metal Muscles' Flex a New Bionic Hand

Artificial limbs, including the most complex of them – the human hand – are getting more life-like and useful due to constant advances in tiny hydraulic, pneumatic and electric motors called actuators. But now, as VOA’s George Putic reports, scientists in Germany say the future of the prosthetic hand may lie not in motors but in wires that can ‘remember’ their shape.
Video

Video Russia Accused of Abusing Interpol to Pursue Opponents

A British pro-democracy group has accused Russia of abusing the global law enforcement agency Interpol by requesting the arrest and extradition of political opponents. A new report by the group notes such requests can mean the accused are unable to travel and are often unable to open bank accounts. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video 'Positive Atmosphere' Points Toward TPP Trade Deal in Hawaii

Talks on a major new trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations are said to be nearing completion in Hawaii. Some trade experts say the "positive atmosphere" at the discussions could mean a deal is within reach, but there is still hard bargaining to be done over many issues and products, including U.S. drugs and Japanese rice. VOA's Jim Randle reports.
Video

Video Genome Initiative Urgently Moves to Freeze DNA Before Species Go Extinct

Earth is in the midst of its sixth mass extinction. The last such event was caused by an asteroid 66 million years ago. It killed off the dinosaurs and practically everything else. So scientists are in a race against time to classify the estimated 11 million species alive today. So far only 2 million are described by science, and researchers are worried many will disappear before they even have a name. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Scientists: One-Dose Malaria Cure is Possible

Scientists have long been trying to develop an effective protection and cure for malaria - one of the deadliest diseases that affects people in tropical areas, especially children. As the World Health Organization announces plans to begin clinical trials of a promising new vaccine, scientists in South Africa report that they too are at an important threshold. George Putic reports, they are testing a compound that could be a single-dose cure for malaria.
Video

Video 'New York' Magazine Features 35 Cosby Accusers

The latest issue of 'New York' magazine features 35 women who say they were drugged and raped by film and television celebrity Bill Cosby. The women are aged from 44 to 80 and come from different walks of life and races. The magazine interviewed each of them separately, but Zlatica Hoke reports their stories are similar.
Video

Video US Calls Fight Against Human Trafficking a Must Win

The United States is promising not to give up its fight against what Secretary of State John Kerry calls the “scourge” of modern slavery. Officials released the country’s annual human trafficking report Monday – a report that’s being met with some criticism. VOA’s National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more from the State Department.
Video

Video Washington DC Underground Streetcar Station to Become Arts Venue

Abandoned more than 50 years ago, the underground streetcar station in Washington D.C.’s historic DuPont Circle district is about to be reborn. The plan calls for turning the spacious underground platforms - once meant to be a transportation hub, - into a unique space for art exhibitions, presentations, concerts and even a film set. Roman Mamonov has more from beneath the streets of the U.S. capital. Joy Wagner narrates his report.
Video

Video Europe’s Twin Crises Collide in Greece as Migrant Numbers Soar

Greece has replaced Italy as the main gateway for migrants into Europe, with more than 100,000 arrivals in the first six months of 2015. Many want to move further into Europe and escape Greece’s economic crisis, but they face widespread dangers on the journey overland through the Balkans. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Stink Intensifies as Lebanon’s Trash Crisis Continues

After the closure of a major rubbish dump a week ago, the streets of Beirut are filling up with trash. Having failed to draw up a plan B, politicians are struggling to deal with the problem. John Owens has more for VOA from Beirut.
Video

Video Paris Rolls Out Blueprint to Fight Climate Change

A U.N. climate conference in December aims to produce an ambitious agreement to fight heat-trapping greenhouse gases. But many local governments are not waiting, and have drafted their own climate action plans. That’s the case with Paris — which is getting special attention, since it’s hosting the climate summit. Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at the transformation of the French capital into an eco-city.
Video

Video Racially Diverse Spider-Man Takes Center Stage

Whether it’s in a comic book or on the big screen, fans have always known the man behind the Spider-Man mask as Peter Parker. But that is changing, at least in the comic book world. Marvel Comics announced that a character called Miles Morales will replace Peter Parker as Spider-Man in a new comic book series. He is half Latino, half African American, and he is quite popular among comic book fans. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports from Los Angeles.
Video

Video Historic Symbol Is Theme of Vibrant New Show

A new exhibit in Washington is paying tribute to the American flag with a wide and eclectic selection of artwork that uses the historic symbol as its central theme. VOA’s Julie Taboh was at the DC Chamber of Commerce for the show’s opening.

VOA Blogs