Bo Xilai to Stand Trial, Says Hong Kong Paper
Once a rising star in the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), for seven months his fate has been strongly contested behind the scenes by the Party leadership, with conflicting signals as to what the verdict might ultimately be. According to a Hong Kong newspaper, the deadlock has been broken and the disgraced former Politburo member Bo Xilai will soon go on trial.
Apple Daily reported on Sept. 25 that a source or sources said the Chinese regime, after waiting for the conclusion of the trial of Gu Kailai (Bo Xilai’s wife) and Wang Lijun (Bo’s former right-hand man), has acknowledged that Bo allegedly committed “serious offenses” and will be tried soon.
The Central Committee of the CCP has decided to revoke Bo Xilai’s candidacy for the 18th National People’s Congress and his Party membership and to hand his case over to the judiciary for criminal prosecution, according to Apple Daily.
Apple Daily did not report when Bo’s trial will take place. It will most likely be held before the 18th Party Congress, when the CCP’s once in a decade leadership transition will be announced. The Party Congress is expected sometime in mid-October.
Bo was the former Party head of the province-level city of Chongqing in central-west China and was touted as destined for the Politburo Standing Committee—the group of nine men who rule the CCP. His fall from the heights of the Party began when his former police chief Wang Lijun fled Chongqing on Feb. 6 to the U.S. Consulate in Chengdu.
Bo risked an international incident by sending 200 police cars and armored vehicles to surround the U.S. Consulate in a bid to force Wang’s return. Wang instead ended up being taken to Beijing by central Party officials where he was stripped of his Party membership and interrogated.
According to U.S. national security reporter Bill Gertz, Wang told U.S. Consulate officials about a plot by Bo and security czar Zhou Yongkang to displace the presumptive next Party head, Xi Jinping, in a coup.
Wang is also believed to have told U.S. and Chinese officials of Bo and Gu Kailai’s involvement in the atrocity of forced live organ harvesting and the selling of corpses to plastination factories in Dalian. And Wang provided the evidence that implicated Gu Kailai in the murder of British businessman Neil Heywood.
After the conclusion of the National People’s Congress meeting in mid-March, Bo was removed from the Politburo and Central Committee and subjected to the abusive Party interrogation called “shuanggui.”
But in the history of the CCP, high-ranking officials have often managed to ride out scandals. Recently Bo seemed to be headed for lenient treatment.
He was not charged with a coup. While Bo’s wife was charged with Neil Heywood’s murder, Bo’s name was kept out of the trial—except that the state-run media referred to his wife as Bo-Gu Kailai—and in the end Gu Kailai was given a lenient sentence.
On Aug. 31, the list of representatives to the National People’s Congress was announced, and Bo’s name was on it, suggesting he had a political future after all.
In September, the Hong Kong-based Open Magazine reported that Party leaders had decided to allow Bo to retain his Party membership, which makes him immune from criminal prosecution.
Bo is the key figure in the recently dominant Party faction assembled by former Party head Jiang Zemin. The disposition of his case has so strongly divided the Party leadership that the deal not to prosecute Bo reported by Open Magazine was said to have been brokered in order to keep the Party from falling apart.
Bo’s fate may become clearer very soon. According to Apple Daily, the 36th session of the Standing Committee of the third Chongqing Municipal People’s Congress will decide on or around Sept. 27 to revoke Bo’s membership in the National People’s Congress, a necessary step to Bo’s becoming eligible for trial.
Apple Daily quotes a source in Beijing who interprets recent articles in the state-run press as indicating a change in the official stance toward Bo.
The regime mouthpiece Xinhua reported that when Wang reported to Chongqing authorities that Gu Kailai had murdered Neil Heywood, Wang was “angrily rebuked and slapped in the face by the official.” The source said this report refers to Bo Xilai and is the first time that the state-run media has implied Bo Xilai’s involvement in the Heywood murder.
Apple Daily’s source said the arrangements for Wang Lijun’s trial were significant.
The court advanced two reasons for leniency for Wang. Wang was said to have reported to the then “leading official of the Chinese Communist Party’s Chongqing Committee” of Gu Kailai’s involvement in the murder of British businessman Neil Heywood, and Wang provided “clues for exposing serious offenses committed by others and played a key part in the investigation of these cases. These can be considered as performing major meritorious services.”
The “others” in the second reason did not refer to Gu Kailai, but rather to Bo Xilai. According to the source, this is a clear sign the Party Central Committee had determined then to charge Bo with serious offenses.
According to the source, Bo Xilai, once he has been tried for whatever the serious offenses turn out to be, will be found guilty.
Read the original Chinese article.
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Editor’s Note: When Chongqing’s former top cop, Wang Lijun, fled for his life to the U.S. Consulate in Chengdu on Feb. 6, he set in motion a political storm that has not subsided. The battle behind the scenes turns on what stance officials take toward the persecution of Falun Gong. The faction with bloody hands—the officials former CCP head Jiang Zemin promoted in order to carry out the persecution—is seeking to avoid accountability for their crimes and to continue the campaign. Other officials are refusing any longer to participate in the persecution. Events present a clear choice to the officials and citizens of China, as well as people around the world: either support or oppose the persecution of Falun Gong. History will record the choice each person makes.