News / Asia

Chinese Court to Hear Bo Xilai Appeal

FILE - Bo Xilai, center, in court on charges of bribery, embezzlement and abuse of power in a case set in motion by his wife's murder of a British businessman.
FILE - Bo Xilai, center, in court on charges of bribery, embezzlement and abuse of power in a case set in motion by his wife's murder of a British businessman.
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VOA News
A Chinese court has said disgraced former politician Bo Xilai will be allowed to appeal his conviction on bribery, embezzlement and abuse of power.

The high court in the eastern province of Shandong said Wednesday that Bo "refused to accept the decision" following his August trial, which resulted in a sentence of life in prison.

The statement did not say when the appeal would be heard, but observers say it is unlikely to succeed since China's top leaders have already decided Bo's fate.

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
  • October 9: Court says Bo will be allowed to appeal his conviction
  • October 25: Court rejects appeal by Bo
Bo admitted some wrongdoing but denied most of the charges against him at the sensational five-day trial, which was very closely watched in China.

Before the scandal erupted, Bo was one of the Communist Party's top leaders. The charismatic politician also amassed a wide public following as party chief of the megacity Chongqing and with his position on the elite Politburo.

The 64-year-old was removed from those posts last year after his ex-police chief fled to a U.S. consulate with evidence that Bo's wife was involved in the 2011 murder of a British businessman.

Bo's wife, Gu Kailai, was later convicted of murdering the family friend, Neil Heywood, over a financial dispute. She was given a suspended death sentence, which is essentially a life term in prison.

The abuse of power charges against Bo were related to his failure to notify Communist Party officials of his wife's murder of Heywood. He was also convicted of accepting a large amount of bribes during his long political career.

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