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China's Bo Xilai stripped of last official title, paving way for prosecution

By Steven Jiang, CNN
October 26, 2012 -- Updated 0258 GMT (1058 HKT)
Once considered a top contender for the Politburo, Bo Xilai was stripped of his legislative membership.
Once considered a top contender for the Politburo, Bo Xilai was stripped of his legislative membership.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Bo Xilai, a former high-flying leader, has dramatically fallen from grace this year
  • He has been removed from his top jobs and his wife has been convicted in slaying
  • Now, authorities have stripped him of legislative membership

Beijing (CNN) -- Chinese authorities have stripped disgraced former leader Bo Xilai of his legislative membership, his last official title, paving the way for criminal prosecution of a once rising political star whose spectacular fall has thrown the ruling Communist Party into its biggest crisis in decades.

The People's Congress of Chongqing, a southwestern metropolis governed by Bo until early this year, removed his delegate status in accordance with law, the state-run news agency Xinhua reported Friday.

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The announcement comes ahead of the 18th National Congress in Beijing next month that will set out who will occupy the top positions in the government hierarchy, part of a once-in-decade leadership transition.

Bo was expelled from the Communist Party and the government last month, after being stripped of leadership positions in April.

He once was considered a top contender for the Politburo Standing Committee, the team of nine politicians who effectively rule China, but the news report on his expulsion last month painted a portrait of corruption, abuse of power and improper sexual relationships.

The news report last month said Bo made "severe mistakes" related to the killing of a British businessman -- a crime for which his wife was imprisoned -- and a diplomatic incident involving his former police chief in Chongqing, Xinhua said.

Investigators cited influence peddling, bribery and womanizing, new details found in the course of the party's investigation. "Bo had or maintained improper sexual relationships with a number of women," the state news agency said.

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