MOSCOW, September 22 (RIA Novosti) – A Chinese court on Sunday sentenced ousted politician Bo Xilai to life in prison after finding him guilty of bribery, embezzlement and abuse of power, Xinhua news agency reported.
The Jinan Intermediate People's Court in east China's Shandong Province announced the widely-anticipated ‘guilty’ verdict following the country's highest-profile trial in decades, Xinhua said.
Bo, 64, made a name for himself through a combination of left-wing populism and personal charisma, a rarity on the Chinese political scene. He was a Politburo member from 2007 to 2012, and Communist Party chief of the megacity of Chongqing.
He was expected to become one of the nine members of the Politburo Standing Committee, the country’s supreme governing body which is set to undergo a massive rotation in November as seven members are reaching retirement age.
However, Bo’s career was unraveled by the case against his wife Gu Kailai, who was convicted in August last year of poisoning a British businessman and received a suspended death penalty.
Following the scandal, Bo was expelled from the Communist Party of China and stripped of his parliamentary status in September last year.
The expulsion and the annulment of his diplomatic immunity paved the way to open a criminal investigation against him.
His downfall divided Chinese society and reportedly upset the balance of factions in the Politburo ahead of the reshuffle.