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Bo Xilai ran 'torture chambers': report

Disgraced Chinese leader Bo Xilai ran "torture chambers" in Chongqing, the city he headed since 2007 till his downfall in March this year, and detained a host of people, including top businessmen, as part of his campaign to curb crime syndicates, a media report claimed on Wednesday.

world Updated: Dec 19, 2012 17:25 IST

Disgraced Chinese leader Bo Xilai ran "torture chambers" in Chongqing, the city he headed since 2007 till his downfall in March this year, and detained a host of people, including top businessmen, as part of his campaign to curb crime syndicates, a media report claimed on Wednesday.

Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post carried an account of the family of a top businessman and local legislator Li Qiang, who was kept in detention for 76 days.

In a story titled 'Inside Bo Xilai torture chambers', it said Li, once one of Chongqing's most successful businessmen with over 100 buses and 1000 taxis, had been shackled to a metal chair in one such torture chambers by police.

He was forced to sit straight-backed on a custom-made chair which was too small for him for 76 days.

In addition, he had heavy iron chains around his ankles and his wrists were in manacles, his daughter and a fellow prisoner told the Post. A black robe was often draped over his head.

For the first five days and six nights he was not given any food or water, or allowed to go to the bathroom, the report said.

Li and six members of his family were later accused of being members of a criminal syndicate. They received sentences ranging from fines to 20 years in jail.

Li, sentenced to 20 years in prison in 2009, remains incarcerated while the family appeals against his conviction, the paper said.

However, since Bo's downfall in March, many of those jailed in the crackdown have said they were tortured into making false confessions.

They have also blamed Bo and city police chief Wang Lijun for tampering with evidence and a lack of due process when their cases went to trial.

This was not the first time revelation about despotic style of Bo in the name of campaigns against crime syndicates in the 30-million-strong city ever since he took over as Communist Party leader there.

The central leadership of the Party moved against him only after Wang escaped to US Consulate in Chengdu after he was slapped by Bo for probing the role of his wife Gu Kailai in the murder of British national Neil Heywood.

After Wang blew the whistle, Bo was removed from all posts and was currently awaiting trial.

While Gu was given suspended death sentence, Wang has been jailed for 15 years for defecting to the US mission and on charges of corruption.

Besides launching a crackdown against crime syndicates, Bo tried to revive Moist ideology by playing up the legacy of the Party founder in the local television.

A former Commerce Minister, Bo was regarded as top contender for a high position during last month's once-in-a-decade leadership conference of the Communist Party.