A Chinese court on Sunday convicted fallen politician Bo Xilai of corruption and sentenced him to life in prison, capping one of the country’s most lurid political scandals in decades.
The Jinan Intermediate People’s Court convicted the former Politburo member and Chongqing city Communist Party chief on charges of taking bribes, embezzlement and abuse of power.
He was sentenced to life in prison on the bribery charges, 15 years for embezzlement and seven years for abuse of power.
Bo, with crew cut hair and wearing a white shirt, stood to hear the verdict.
Bo’s downfall was set in motion by his wife’s murder of a British businessman, followed his top aide’s attempt to defect to a US consulate with information about the case.
Bo was later investigated for corruption.
The case has been closely followed both inside and outside China.
Feng Jutan, a retired 68-year-old man, linked the case to the ongoing campaign against corruption launched by the current Chinese leadership.
“Ever since the 18th Party Congress, from the information that I gathered, I know that at least nine senior officials have fallen over corruption, with crimes such as graft, embezzlement and abuse of power. It’s not only him,” said Feng, ahead of the verdict on Sunday.
“Whether guilty or not, the ordinary people don’t know. Corrupt officials have the power and without them putting their signature, nobody can get (corruption) money,” said another man who identified himself as Fang, also ahead of the verdict.
Bo was the highest-ranking Chinese official to stand trial since former Shanghai party chief Chen Liangyu in 2008.