Bo Xilai to face charge of abuse of power for shielding wife

Disgraced Chinese leader Bo Xilai will be tried for abuse of power for shielding his wife Gu Kailai from facing a probe into the murder of a British national, officials said on Monday.

Last Updated: Aug 19, 2013, 19:09 PM IST

Beijing: Disgraced Chinese leader Bo Xilai will be tried for abuse of power for shielding his wife Gu Kailai from facing a probe into the murder of a British national, officials said on Monday.
Bo, a former strongman of the ruling Communist Party who was purged last year over a major scandal, will also face charges of bribery and embezzlement during an "open trial" set to begin in the Jinan Intermediate People`s Court on August 22.

The charge of abuse of power is mainly related to the case of Wang Lijun the police chief of Chongqing city who sought refuge in the US Consulate in Chengdu last year fearing reprisals from Bo over the investigation into Gu`s role in the murder of British businessman Neil Heywood, state-run Global Times newspaper quoted officials as saying.

Bo, 64, allegedly attempted to stop Wang from re-investigating the death of Heywood and illegally removed the police officer from his position, officials said.

The scandal emerged after Wang entered the US consulate in Chengdu without authorisation last February, and the revelation that Bo`s wife Gu murdered Heywood, the report said.

Gu was given a suspended death sentence last August for killing Heywood and Wang was sentenced to 15 years in prison for bending the law for selfish ends, defection, power abuse and bribe-taking.

Bo, former boss of the Communist Party in Chongqing city, was expelled from the party after the scandal.

His indictment paper said he took advantage of his position to seek profit, accepted an "extremely large amount" of money and properties, embezzled a large amount of public money and abused his power.

A source close to Bo said the money involved in his case stands at 25 million yuan (USD 4.1 million), the report said.

The source said Bo allegedly took most of the bribes during his time at Dalian in the northeastern Liaoning Province, where he worked as head of the local publicity department, vice mayor and mayor during 1988-2000.

He also worked as the country`s Commerce Minister.

The open trial notice has received nationwide attention, and has been featured prominently in the top news sections of nearly all news portals.

Bo is the third senior official, who once held a seat on the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the CPC, to stand trial over the past two decades, following former Beijing Party chief Chen Xitong and former Shanghai Party chief Chen Liangyu.

The other two officials received suspended death sentences.

Compared to their cases, Bo`s trial has been more transparent and the information was revealed in a timely manner, said Qin Qianhong, a constitutional law professor with Wuhan University.

PTI