Fallen China politician handed life sentence
Bo Xilai, once a rising star in China’s political hierarchy, was sentenced to life in prison Sunday for bribery, embezzlement and abuse of power in a case set in motion by his wife’s poisoning of a British businessman.
The Associated Press
JINAN, China — A Chinese court convicted Bo Xilai of corruption Sunday and gave him a stern sentence of life in prison, capping a 20-month scandal that derailed one of China’s most up-and-coming politicians while exposing a murder and illicit enrichment among the country’s elite.
The former Politburo member was convicted of bribery, embezzlement and abuse of power in a case set in motion by his wife’s poisoning of a British business associate, but also widely regarded in China as a prosecution that went forward because the charismatic populist had lost support among top leaders.
In a departure from other recent politically charged trials — typically seen as closely choreographed — Bo launched a vigorous defense during his trial. He denied all charges and blamed the corruption on others in his inner circle, thus forgoing the opportunity to earn leniency as is customarily given in Chinese courts when a defendant expresses contrition.
Bo also became the highest-level politician convicted of corruption under China’s leader Xi Jinping, who has vowed to combat graft.
The court rejected Bo’s defense that he did not know of the $3.5 million in bribes from two business associates in the form of extensive valuable gifts to his family, including a French villa.