Press Trust of India
Beijing, 18 September
The verdict in China’s biggest political trial in decades involving disgraced Communist Party leader Bo Xilai would be pronounced on Sunday, the court that tried him announced today, amid speculation that he could even receive the death penalty for his defiant stance during the proceedings.
The Jinan Intermediate People’s Court, which conducted a lengthy five-day trial last month said today that it will deliver the verdict in Bo’s case at 10 a.m. on 22 September, official media here reported. Prosecutors called for a strong sentence for 64-year-old Bo, who faced charges of bribery, embezzlement and abuse of power. The former Chongqing leader and Communist Party official denied the charges in a trial last month that captivated people in China.
A number of top officials including Bo’s wife Gu Kailai, who was accused of murdering a British national Neil Heywood, got suspended death sentences.
The defiant posture at the trial by Bo, who cultivated the image of reviving the discarded hardline Maoist ideology may even see him get death penalty.
Bo, who held many high level positions including the commerce minister and tipped to become a top leader in the present set-up was ousted as chief of Chongqing city last year and charged with bribery, embezzlement and abuse of power. He was regarded as leader from a hardline faction of the ruling Communist Party of China (CPC) which geared up to challenge the reforms and opening up of the economy undertaken by the Party after the death of its founder Mao Zedong in 1976. The trial was held at the court in Jinan, capital of east China’s Shandong Province from 22 to 26 August.
Regarded as the first high level political trial after the trial of Gang Four, involving, Jiang Qing the widow of Mao, Bo’s trial evoked national and international attention. At the trial, prosecutors demanded a harsh sentence for Bo, while he dropped some high level names including former President Hu Jintao and Chief of Internal Security Zhou Yongkong.