The disgraced Chinese politician and former rising star of the Communist Party, Bo Xilai, was finally charged with corruption today in what is shaping up to be China’s trial of the century.
Mr Bo is accused of bribery, embezzlement and abuse of power, according to the state news agency, Xinhua. He is accused of taking advantage of his position to seek profits for others, and the formal charges mean that he will probably be sentenced within a month.
“Bo Xilai’s indictment again shows that everyone is equal in the eyes of the law … and nobody has special rights,” the news agency said.
Mr Bo looks fairly certain to be found guilty, albeit on relatively lenient charges. His police chief, Wang Lijun, has already been convicted and jailed over the scandal, and his wife, Gu Kailai, was given a suspended death sentence for the murder of British businessman Neil Heywood – whose death triggered the investigation into Mr Bo’s affairs which led to his downfall.
Mr Bo, once a contender for the top leadership in the world’s second-largest economy, was ousted last year as Communist Party chief in Chongqing, in China’s biggest political scandal in two decades, following the murder.
The indictment claims that Mr Bo “took advantage of his position as a civil servant to seek gains for others, as well as accepted bribes in the form of large amounts of money and property”.
News reports have revealed that Mr Bo has been accused of receiving more than 20m yuan (£2.13m) in bribes and embezzling another 5m yuan (£530,000).
It is thought that the government may try to resolve the issue before a meeting of the third plenum of the Central Committee, which is expected to take place this autumn.