The trial of disgraced Chinese politician Bo Xilai began in an eastern China court on Thursday amid tight security and sharp media focus with prosecutors accusing him of accepting bribes of 21.8 million Yuan during the years when he held high posts in the Communist Party of China (CPC).
The verdict on former CPC Politburo member Bo is likely to be announced at a later date. But since the CPC controls the judiciary, it is widely believed that the degree of punishment Bo will receive has already been decided; it’s just the question of facile formality.
The verdict, when announced, will officially bring to an end the worst and the most divisive political scandal in China in years. But its political ripples are likely to be felt for long.
Bo, charged with bribery, corruption and abuse of power, was brought to the Jinan Intermediate People’s Court in East China’s Shandong province Thursday morning in a fleet of cars with police lining up all along the route to the court house.
From released court transcripts, it appears Bo put a spirited defence of himself, denying some of the charges.
“I had gone against my heart and admitted [accepting bribes from Tang on three occasions] while the Central Disciplinary Commission investigated me, and said I was willing to accept legal responsibilities. I had no knowledge of these details back then, my brain was blank,” he said.
The live microblog feed – the first time such a feed is being put out in a high-profile case – added he stood accused of accepting bribes totaling 21.8m Yuan between 2000 and 2012 from the heads of two companies, Dalian International Development and Dalian Shide Group. He took the bribes “either by himself or with the aid of his wife (Gu Kailai) and his son (Bo Guagua),” the indictment said.