News / Asia

    China Strips Bo Xilai's Parliament Seat, Immunity

    In a file picture taken on March 5, 2012, Chongqing mayor Bo Xilai (bottom C) attends the opening session of the National People's Congress (NPC) at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing.
    In a file picture taken on March 5, 2012, Chongqing mayor Bo Xilai (bottom C) attends the opening session of the National People's Congress (NPC) at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing.
    Disgraced Chinese politician Bo Xilai was formally expelled from China’s legislature on Friday, clearing the way for possible criminal and corruption charges to be brought against the former rising political star.
     
    By stripping Bo of his legislative seat, the standing committee of parliament made sure the former Chongqing party chief will no longer enjoy immunity from prosecution. Bo faces a wide range of allegations many of which were outlined late last month when state media reported that he had been purged from the Communist Party.
     
    Bo Xilai  

    • Father Bo Yibo was one of the founders of the People's Republic of China
    • Bo Xilai joined the Communist Party in 1980
    • Was mayor of Dailan, governor of Liaoning province and commerce minister
    • Named leader of Chongqing city in 2007 and ascended to membership in the Politburo
    • Gained prominence for launching crackdown on corruption in Chongqing
    • Expelled form Communist Party in September, 2012
    • Found guilty of bribery, corruption and abuse of power in September, 2013, sentenced to life in prison
    Bo has been accused of corruption stretching back more than a decade and of interfering in the investigation into the murder of a British businessman, a crime his wife and a family aide were recently found guilty of committing.
     
    It’s unclear though, just how soon Bo could be put on trial. Some believe that the party would like to take care of the case before its 18th National Party Congress, which opens November 8, and marks the beginning of a once-in-a-decade leadership transition for China.
     
    Long process

    Li Xiaolin, the lawyer Bo’s family has asked to represent him in court says the entire procedure could take more than a year.
     
    Li says he does not know when the trial could take place and that there is too little time before the 18th party congress to carry out all of the legal procedures involved in the case.
     
    “First, I have no idea when the trial could take place and secondly, from the perspective of the legal procedure, there is too little time before the 18th Party Congress,” says Li.
     
    The lawyer says he still does not know whether the government will let him represent Bo in the case.
     
    When Bo was purged from China’s Communist Party late last month, state-run Xinhua news agency released an extensive report detailing allegations of how he abused his power and bore major responsibility in the murder case.  The report also accused him of using his position to seek profits for others and of taking bribes either personally or through family members.
     
    Investigation

    Li, however, says that an independent investigation needs to be carried out before Bo should be put on trial.
     
    Li says that before the case can go to trial, there needs to be an investigation and indictment. He says that while judicial authorities will carry out an independent inquiry, they will most likely use the details from the Xinhua report in their investigation.
     
    “There needs to be an investigation and an indictment before the case can go to court," he stresses. "Judicial authorities will carry out their investigation independently, but the details as outlined in the Xinhua report will most likely be clues that they will use in their investigation.”
     
    Fall from grace

    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
    Once a rising political star, Bo was widely expected to win a powerful spot in China's party leadership reshuffle that begins early next month. But now, the party appears to be drawing a clear line between itself and Bo.
     
    Earlier this week, the party announced the promotion of five generals to new posts. Analysts note that among those who were passed over for a promotion was General Liu Yuan, a man who is considered to have close ties to Bo.
     
    David Kelly, research director at the Beijing-based group China Policy, says that while too much could be read into the changes, the military is facing concerns about corruption. 
     
    “ I think that all these people, all these appointments, I assume will be very, very, clean. They have to select clean people, you know ‘Lian Zheng’ [Chinese for ‘clean-governance’] is the name of the game," Kelly notes. "You'll probably find that these people have spotless records, but how would you know if they didn't? You know.”
     
    In China there is widespread public concern about corruption among the country’s ruling elite.
     
    Corruption

    On Friday, the same day that Bo was stripped of his seat, the New York Times released a lengthy investigative story that claimed the family of Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao had accumulated assets worth $2.7 billion.  
     
    The assets, the report says were largely amassed over the past decade since he rose to high office in 2002. Wen is one of China’s most popular politicians who earlier this year called corruption the “greatest threat” to the ruling party.  
     
    China’s Foreign Ministry said Friday there was no reason to be concerned about such reports and said they are aimed at smearing China’s reputation overseas.
     
    Chinese censors Friday blocked access to the New York Times website and deleted references to the prime minister and his family on social media networks.

    Photo Gallery: Bo Xilai Scandal

    • In this photo released by the Jinan Intermediate People's Court, Bo Xilai is handcuffed and held by police officers as he stands at the court in Jinan, in eastern China's Shandong province, Sept. 22, 2013.
    • A minivan believed to be carrying Bo Xilai arrives at the Jinan Intermediate People's Court ahead of the fifth day of Bo's trial, August 26, 2013. 
    • In this image taken from video, Bo Xilai addresses a court at Jinan Intermediate People's Court in eastern China's Shandong province, Aug. 24, 2013.
    • A woman protests outside the Jinan Intermediate People's Court, eastern China's Shandong province, August 21, 2013.
    • Gu Kailai, wife of Bo Xilai, is seen in a still image taken from an August 10, 2013 video provided by the Jinan Intermediate People's Court.
    • Policemen are seen at a court building where the trial for Bo Xilai was held in Jinan, Shandong province.
    • Former police chief Wang Lijun speaks during a court hearing in Chengdu, China, in this still image taken from CCTV video, Sept. 18, 2012.
    • This video image taken from CCTV shows Gu Kailai, wife of Bo Xilai, being taken into the Intermediate People's Court in the eastern Chinese city Hefei, August 9, 2012.
    • Police officers stand guard at the Hefei City Intermediate People's Court for the murder trial of Gu Kailai, Anhui Province, China, August 9, 2012.
    • A  combonation photo showing Neil Heywood and Gu Kailai.
    • Bo Xilai, walks past Communist Party leaders at the National People's Congress in Beijing, March 9, 2012.
    • Bo Xilai, right and his son, Bo Guagua, 2007.

    You May Like

    Video Twists and Turns Aplenty in US Presidential Race

    Even as Americans pause for this week’s Memorial Day holiday, much attention is focused on the presidential contest

    Iran Orders Social Media Sites to Store Data Inside Country

    New requirements are expected to affect the instant messaging app Telegram, which has more than 20 million users inside Iran

    The Struggle With Painkillers: Treating Pain Without Feeding Addiction

    'Wonder drug' pain medications have turned out to be major problem: not only do they run high risk of addicting the user, but they can actually make patients' chronic pain worse, US CDC says

    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.
    Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trendi
    X
    May 27, 2016 5:57 AM
    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.
    Video

    Video Meet Your New Co-Worker: The Robot

    Increasing numbers of robots are joining the workforce, as companies scale back and more processes become automated. The latest robots are flexible and collaborative, built to work alongside humans as opposed to replacing them. VOA’s Tina Trinh looks at the next generation of automated employees helping out their human colleagues.
    Video

    Video Wheelchair Technology in Tune With Times

    Technologies for the disabled, including wheelchair technology, are advancing just as quickly as everything else in the digital age. Two new advances in wheelchairs offer improved control and a more comfortable fit. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Baby Boxes Offer Safe Haven for Unwanted Children

    No one knows exactly how many babies are abandoned worldwide each year. The statistic is a difficult one to determine because it is illegal in most places. Therefore unwanted babies are often hidden and left to die. But as Erika Celeste reports from Woodburn, Indiana, a new program hopes to make surrendering infants safer for everyone.
    Video

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Communities in the U.S. often hold festivals to show what makes them special. In California, for example, farmers near Fresno celebrate their figs and those around Gilmore showcase their garlic. Mike O'Sullivan reports that the wine-producing region of Temecula offers local vintages in an annual festival where rides on hot-air balloons add to the excitement.
    Video

    Video US Elementary School Offers Living Science Lessons

    Zero is not a good score on a test at school. But Discovery Elementary is proud of its “net zero” rating. Net zero describes a building in which the amount of energy provided by on-site renewable sources equals the amount of energy the building uses. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, the innovative features in the building turn the school into a teaching tool, where kids can't help but learn about science and sustainability. Faith Lapidus narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora