Skip to main content

Chinese court to issue verdict in Bo Xilai corruption trial on Sunday

By Steven Jiang and Jethro Mullen, CNN
September 18, 2013 -- Updated 1120 GMT (1920 HKT)
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • The verdict will be announced Sunday morning, the court says
  • The closely watched trial took place in Shandong province last month
  • Bo, a former top official, faces charges of corruption, embezzlement, abuse of power
  • The overwhelming majority of Chinese criminal cases result in guilty verdicts

Beijing (CNN) -- A court in eastern China said it will deliver the much anticipated verdict in the corruption trial of fallen high-flying politician Bo Xilai on Sunday.

The Jinan Intermediate People's Court in the province of Shandong said Wednesday on its official microblog account that the verdict would be pronounced at 10 a.m. local time on Sunday.

During the hearings of the politically sensitive trial that took place last month, Bo strongly challenged the prosecution's case against him, according to accounts published by the court.

The closely watched trial was considered to be much more transparent than most cases in China. But international and independent journalists weren't allowed inside the courtroom, and doubts were raised about the fullness of the court's version of events.

China's trials of the century
China's fascination with Bo Xilai trial
Bo: Key prosecution witness a 'mad dog'

Bo, 64, is charged with bribery, embezzlement and abuse of power.

High conviction rate

His trial brought to light a wealth of eye-opening details about the apparently lavish and emotionally fraught life of his family and inner circle, giving Chinese people insights into how some of the ruling elite live.

Bo's glittering career, during which he drew both admirers and detractors for his populist policies, fell apart last year amid a scandal involving murder, betrayal and financial skullduggery.

Based on the track record of Chinese courts, Bo appears likely to be convicted.

The conviction rate at criminal trials and their appeals in China -- where the ruling Communist Party controls police, prosecution and courts -- stood at 99.9% in 2010, a U.S. State Department report cited the Supreme People's Court as saying.

If he is found guilty, he will also probably find out his punishment. Chinese courts usually announce sentencing straight after guilty verdicts. Prosecutors have asked for a heavy sentence for the former senior official.

Dramatic downfall

The son of a revolutionary veteran, Bo rose to power as a city mayor, provincial governor, minister of commerce and member of the Politburo, the powerful policymaking body of the Communist Party. He had been tipped to ascend farther up the party hierarchy.

A charismatic and urbane politician, Bo was credited with a spectacular, albeit brutal, crackdown on organized crime during his time as the top party official of Chongqing, a metropolis in southwestern China.

But when his deputy, Wang Lijun, walked into the U.S. Consulate in the city of Chengdu in February of last year and told American diplomats that Bo's wife, Gu Kailai, was an accomplice in a murder case, Bo's career began to unravel.

Wang's move precipitated Bo's political demise. Soon after news of the events began to emerge, Bo was removed from his party posts.

A court found Gu guilty last year of murdering British businessman Neil Heywood in a Chongqing hotel room in 2011. A family employee, Zhang Xiaojun, was also convicted in the killing and sentenced to nine years in prison.

The following month, Wang was convicted of bending the law for selfish ends, defection, abuse of power and bribe-taking. He received a 15-year prison sentence.

Wang and Gu both appeared as witnesses at Bo's trial last month. Bo attacked their testimony and even claimed that Wang and Gu had been romantically involved.

CNN'sSteven Jiang reported from Beijing and Jethro Mullen wrote from Hong Kong.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
September 16, 2014 -- Updated 0929 GMT (1729 HKT)
Christians in eastern China keep watch in Wenzhou, where authorities have demolished churches and removed crosses.
September 10, 2014 -- Updated 0538 GMT (1338 HKT)
Home-grown hip-hop appeals to a younger generation but its popularity has not translated into record deals and profits for budding rap artists.
September 9, 2014 -- Updated 0545 GMT (1345 HKT)
Reforms to the grueling gaokao - the competitive college entrance examination - don't make the grade, says educator Jiang Xueqin.
September 5, 2014 -- Updated 1218 GMT (2018 HKT)
Beijing grapples with reports from Iraq that a Chinese national fighting for ISIS has been captured.
September 1, 2014 -- Updated 0200 GMT (1000 HKT)
CNN's David McKenzie has tasted everything from worms to grasshoppers while on the road; China's cockroaches are his latest culinary adventure.
September 5, 2014 -- Updated 0057 GMT (0857 HKT)
Beijing rules only candidates approved by a nominating committee can run for Hong Kong's chief executive.
August 29, 2014 -- Updated 1914 GMT (0314 HKT)
China warns the United States to end its military surveillance flights near Chinese territory.
August 29, 2014 -- Updated 0312 GMT (1112 HKT)
China has produced elite national athletes but some argue the emphasis on winning discourages children. CNN's Kristie Lu Stout reports
August 19, 2014 -- Updated 0513 GMT (1313 HKT)
Chinese are turning to overseas personal shoppers to get their hands on luxury goods at lower prices.
August 15, 2014 -- Updated 0908 GMT (1708 HKT)
Experts say rapidly rising numbers of Christians are making it harder for authorities to control the religion's spread.
August 11, 2014 -- Updated 0452 GMT (1252 HKT)
"I'm proud of their moral standing," says Harvey Humphrey. His parents are accused of corporate crimes in China.
August 6, 2014 -- Updated 1942 GMT (0342 HKT)
A TV confession detailing a life of illegal gambling and paid-for sex has capped the dramatic fall of one of China's most high-profile social media celebrities.
July 31, 2014 -- Updated 0410 GMT (1210 HKT)
President Xi Jinping's campaign to punish corrupt Chinese officials has snared its biggest target -- where can the campaign go from here?
July 30, 2014 -- Updated 0712 GMT (1512 HKT)
All you need to know about the tainted meat produce that affects fast food restaurants across China, Hong Kong, and Japan.
July 18, 2014 -- Updated 0230 GMT (1030 HKT)
Some savvy individuals in China are claiming naming rights to valuable foreign brands. Here's how companies can combat them.
July 16, 2014 -- Updated 0911 GMT (1711 HKT)
Is the Chinese president a true reformist or merely a "dictator" in disguise? CNN's Beijing bureau chief Jaime FlorCruz dissects the leader's policies
July 8, 2014 -- Updated 0344 GMT (1144 HKT)
With a population of 1.3 billion, you'd think that there would be 11 people in China who are good enough to put up a fight on the football pitch.
ADVERTISEMENT