A prominent Chinese current affairs magazine has published what it says are new details of corruption charges against former senior official Bo Xilai, whose downfall last year marked China's biggest political scandal in decades.
In an article published Tuesday, the Beijing-based publication Caijing
said prosecutors have charged Bo with accepting bribes and embezzling funds while he served as mayor of the northeastern city of Dalian in the 1990s. The magazine said its reporters found the bribery and embezzlement charges involved $4 million.
said the reporters also learned that Bo faces an abuse of power charge on suspicion of blocking a police investigation of his wife's role in the 2011 murder of British businessman Neil Heywood. At that time, Bo was serving as Communist Party chief of the southwestern city of Chongqing and was one of 25 members in the Communist Party’s Politburo.
Bo was removed from his posts and expelled from the party last year after his former police chief exposed the Heywood scandal, which led to the eventual murder conviction of Bo's wife, Gu Kailai.
Chinese state media announced last Thursday that Bo has been charged with bribery, embezzlement and abuse of power, but they did not disclose details of those charges.
The article's authors did not name any sources for their information, a customary practice for the magazine, which has a reputation of investigating and exposing corruption in China.
The article no longer can be found on the Caijing website, but the article has been republished on a blog of the state-run People's Daily newspaper
Chinese government censors frequently order the removal of Internet content they deem to be a threat to the ruling party or capable of inciting public anger or unrest.
In recent days, Chinese Internet users have flocked to social media websites to speculate about how tough the Chinese government is willing to be in prosecuting Bo and other officials who may have conspired with him.
The details about the bribery and embezzlement charges against Bo are notable because they relate only to his tenure as mayor of Dalian. The article suggests Bo will not face similar charges related to his more high-profile work in Chongqing, where his former aides have been under investigation for suspected corruption.
The magazine also said Chinese prosecutors have identified a tycoon suspected of paying the biggest bribes to Bo. It named the man as Xu Ming, founder of the Dalian Shide conglomerate. There was no immediate word on Xu's whereabouts or response to the accusation.
No date has yet been announced for Bo's trial. Caijing
said the trial could begin in the first few days of August at the earliest.