China’s Bo Xilai indicted for corruption, abuse of power

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Bo Xilai. AP

BEIJING – China’s once-powerful politician Bo Xilai has been indicted for bribery, corruption and abuse of power, the state news agency Xinhua said Thursday.

The former party chief of the southwestern city of Chongqing has not been seen in public for more than a year since the controversy surrounding him was exposed, triggering one of China’s biggest political scandals in decades.

“The indictment paper was delivered” to a court in Jinan in the eastern province of Shandong, Xinhua said citing prosecutors in the city.

The downfall of Bo, once one of 25 members of the Politburo of China’s ruling Communist Party, exposed corruption allegations and deep divisions at the highest levels of government.

Bo was accused of accepting “massive” bribes and bending the law, following his wife Gu Kailai’s conviction for murder of a British business associate.

The scandal emerged last year when Bo’s police chief and right-hand man Wang Lijun fled to a US consulate, reportedly seeking asylum.

It came ahead of a once-a-decade leadership transition last November, in which Bo had been considered a candidate for the Politburo Standing Committee, which currently has seven members and is China’s most powerful body.

News of the trial comes at a time when the party is trying to show it is cracking down on corruption and government waste.

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