Bo Xilai trial: China prosecutors in 'no leniency' call as trial ends

The BBC's Celia Hatton: "Bo Xilai painted himself as a very humble, hard-working man"

Prosecutors said no leniency should be shown as the trial of former top Chinese politician Bo Xilai ended.

Mr Bo's crimes were serious and he had not shown remorse, the prosecution said, so leniency was not called for.

Bo Xilai, meanwhile, continued to deny charges against him and said his police chief tried to defect because he was in love with his wife, Gu Kailai.

The five-day trial adjourned after closing statements, with the verdict expected "at a date to be decided".

The former Communist Party chief in the mega-city of Chongqing denies bribery, corruption and abuse of power.

Analysis

Few doubt that Bo Xilai faces a lengthy prison sentence. China's communist leaders have been in charge of the trial from start to finish.

However whether they intended to or not, the party took a serious risk when deciding to place the charismatic Mr Bo in the spotlight for five days. No other leader, even China's charming President Xi Jinping, has spent that much time in front of the Chinese people.

Mr Bo made jokes, admitted his personal failings and revealed intimate family details, giving China's population a much fuller portrait of Bo Xilai than any other Chinese political figure.

His closing argument on the final day of the trial, in which he expressed hope for the future of the Chinese judicial system and thanked the kind people of Shandong for hosting the trial, felt more like an election speech than a mea culpa.

Even though Mr Bo's comments were undoubtedly censored, it is clear he attempted to reach beyond the Jinan courtroom. He appealed to the court of public opinion. Mr Bo already has a sizeable power base in Chongqing, but it could be even larger now.

On Sunday, the former high-flier launched a scathing attack on Wang Lijun, his former police chief whose flight to the US consulate in February 2012 led to a fresh investigation into the death of British businessman Neil Heywood.

Mr Bo's wife, Gu Kailai, has since been convicted of the murder of Mr Heywood, and the abuse of power charge against Mr Bo relates to his role in attempting to conceal her crime, the court has heard.

Foreign media are not allowed into the trial, but the court in the eastern city of Jinan has been posting regular updates on China's micro-blogging site Weibo (in Mandarin). These cannot be independently verified.

This is China's most politically charged trial in decades. Mr Bo had been seen as a candidate for the highest levels of office until his fall from grace. He is widely expected to be found guilty.

'Made mistakes'

When court resumed at 08:30 (00:30GMT) on Monday, the prosecution made its closing statement.

"The defendant's crimes are extremely grave, and he also refuses to admit guilt," an official transcript read. "As such, the circumstances do not call for a lenient punishment but a severe one, in accordance with the law."

Chinese men are seen through the main doors to the Jinan Intermediate People's Court in Jinan on Monday 26 August 2013 The five-day trial has taken place behind closed doors

The prosecutors' statement was posted on the court's microblog and then taken down, before being reposted without a sentence that referred to Mr Bo acting on the orders of "superiors" in obtaining a fake medical certificate for Wang Lijun.

Bo Xilai scandal: Timeline

  • 2 February 2012 -Wang Lijun seeks refuge at the US consulate in Chengdu
  • 15 March - Bo Xilai is removed from his post as party chief in Chongqing
  • 26 March - UK confirms it has asked China to re-examine Neil Heywood's death
  • 10 April - Bo Xilai is stripped of his Communist Party posts and his wife Gu Kailai is investigated over Neil Heywood's death
  • 20 August - Gu Kailai is given a suspended death sentence for the murder of Neil Heywood
  • 28 September - Bo Xilai is expelled from the Communist Party
  • 25 July 2013 - Bo Xilai is charged with corruption, bribery and abuse of power

Mr Bo then gave a statement to the court in which, according to the official transcript, he blamed Wang's flight to the US consulate on the fact that he had been in love with Gu Kailai and feared Mr Bo's reaction.

He also defended his right to deny charges in court, saying he wrote previous confessions under pressure because he hoped by doing so he could stay in the Communist Party and keep his political career alive.

On Sunday the 64-year-old characterised Wang Lijun's testimony as "full of lies and fraud".

Wang, who has been convicted of crimes related to the Neil Heywood murder cover-up, told the court on Saturday that Mr Bo hit him when he told him his wife was a suspect in the killing.

"He suddenly struck me with his fist and hit my left ear. It was not merely a slap... I found the corner of my mouth was bleeding," court reporting of Wang's testimony said.

Mr Bo has also denied receiving bribes from two Dalian-based businessmen and embezzling funds at his trial.

"On the matter of abuse of office, I made mistakes, this reflected badly on the image of the party and the state. I feel sorry for that," Mr Bo told the court on Saturday.

"However I do think the charges against me exaggerated my role in these incidents," he added.

Two years ago Bo Xilai was seen as a candidate for promotion to the Politburo Standing Committee, China's top decision-making body.

But in February 2012, as the country prepared for its once-in-a-decade leadership handover, questions emerged over the death of Mr Heywood. Gu Kailai is said to have killed him over a business deal gone wrong.

Mr Bo's downfall was seen as the biggest political shake-up to hit China's ruling elite in decades.

CLICKABLE

Bo Xilai

Former Communist Party chief of Chongqing and Politburo member

Mr Bo, the son of a famous Communist Party hero, was once a political high-flyer and described as the nearest China had to a Western-style politician. He ran the coastal city of Dalian and was commerce minister before becoming Party chief of south-western metropolis of Chongqing. He was removed from office following Neil Heywood’s death and was charged with bribery, corruption and abuse of power.

Gu Kailai

Lawyer and wife of Bo Xilai

Ms Gu, whose father was a prominent revolutionary general, is a well-known lawyer and second wife of Bo Xilai.

She studied at Peking University before opening the Kailai law firm in Beijing. Fluent in English, she and her husband were once one of China's most powerful couples. Last year, she was convicted of Mr Heywood's murder, reportedly over a deal gone wrong, and given a suspended death sentence.

Bo Guagua

Son of Bo Xilai and Gu Kailai

Educated at the exclusive British private school Harrow, followed by Oxford and Harvard Universities, Bo Guagua has been described as one of China's "princelings" - the descendants of revolutionary leaders often criticised for their lavish lifestyles. Since his parents’ fall, Bo Guagua has remained in the US, where he is preparing to study law at Colombia University in New York. In a statement issued ahead of Mr Bo’s trial, Bo Guagua said he hoped his father would be allowed to defend himself "without constraints".

Wang Lijun

Former Chongqing police chief

Mr Wang, once a popular police chief and Bo Xilai’s deputy in Chongqing, began his career in law enforcement in the Inner Mongolia region before moving to Chongqing in 2008. He worked closely with Mr Bo but, after an apparent falling out, Mr Wang fled to the US consulate in Chengdu, near Chongqing, where he raised concerns about the circumstances of Neil Heywood’s death. Mr Wang has since been jailed for 15 years, charged with defection, power abuse and bribe-taking.

Patrick Devillers

French architect

Mr Devillers is believed to have met Bo Xilai and Gu Kailai in the 1990s while living in Dalian and reportedly helped design street grids in the port city while Mr Bo was mayor. French documents quoted by the Wall Street Journal and New York Times said he also oversaw the running of a villa in the South of France - allegedly belonging to Mr Bo - between 2001 to 2007. He was detained in Cambodia, where he lives, before voluntarily flying to China in July 2012. Reports say Chinese authorities wanted to talk to him as a witness in the Neil Heywood case.

Jiang Feng Dolby

Television presenter and business woman

Mrs Dolby, born in China but now a British citizen through marriage, is well known in China as a state TV presenter. However, after moving to Britain she ran an educational consulting company, which it is claimed helped get the children of wealthy Chinese couples into leading British and American schools and universities. Mrs Dolby was named in official documents quoted by the Wall Street Journal as the manager of a villa in the south of France that is expected to be one of the key pieces of evidence at Mr Bo's trial.

Dalian

Major seaport in north-eastern China

It was here that Bo Xilai's political career was set on the fast track when he was appointed mayor. Mr Bo was credited with developing Dalian from an unremarkable port city to a showcase for China's economic boom. It was also in Dalian that Mr Bo and Gu Kailai reportedly first met Mr Heywood and Mr Devillers.

Chongqing

Major city in south-western China

Bo Xilai was appointed Communist Party chief of Chongqing in 2007. Wang Lijun, the city’s former police chief, was his deputy. Mr Bo became well-known for a high-profile crackdown on crime and advancing the "Chongqing model" of development, which spent heavily on developing public housing and infrastructure. However, his ambition and flamboyant style earned him enemies and raised eyebrows among party leaders back in Beijing. It was in a hotel room in Chongqing that British businessman Neil Heywood was found dead in November 2011.

French villa

Cannes, France

A six-bedroom villa in the south of France is expected to play a role in the trial of Bo Xilai. The $3.5m (£2.2m) property in Cannes was allegedly given to Mr Bo as a bribe. It it claimed to have been bought by Xu Ming, a billionaire backer of Mr Bo in Dalian. French documents quoted by the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times state people close to the Bo family have been involved with the villa since 2001. French architect Patrick Devillers, British businessman Neil Heywood and Feng Jiang Dolby, a former presenter on China's state TV, have all overseen the running of the property, the papers said.

Neil Heywood

British businessman

Having enjoyed a privileged education at Harrow school, Mr Heywood moved to China in the early 1990s where he learned Mandarin, married his Chinese wife Wang Lulu and started a business career. The father-of-two worked as a consultant to foreign businesses seeking investment in China. It was while living in the north-eastern port city of Dalian in the mid-1990s that Mr Heywood met Bo Xilai - then the city’s mayor - and his wife Gu Kailai. More than a decade later, Mr Heywood was found dead in a hotel room in the south-western city Chongqing - where Mr Bo had since become Communist Party chief. In 2012, Gu Kailai and an aide were convicted of poisoning him because of "economic conflict".

More on This Story

Bo Xilai scandal

More China stories

RSS

Features & Analysis

Elsewhere on the BBC

  • FutureThe future is now

    Get the latest updates and biggest ideas from BBC Future’s World-Changing Ideas Summit

Programmes

  • St John's, CanadaThe Travel Show Watch

    It’s a ships’ symphony – listen to these freighters in Canada play music with their horns

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.