China

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

  • 26 August 2013
  • From the section China

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.

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.

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.