Cookie consent

We use cookies to improve your experience on this website. By continuing to browse our site you agree to our use of cookies. Tell me more | Cookie preferences

Chinese court rejects appeal by disgraced former top official Bo Xilai

Bo Xilai appeal rejected

    Just Watched

    Bo Xilai appeal rejected

Bo Xilai appeal rejected 02:30

Story highlights

  • NEW: Bo interrupted and angered judge during court session, source tells CNN
  • Court rejects Bo Xilai's appeal against his conviction and life sentence
  • Ruling ends one of China's messiest political scandals
  • Bo was found guilty of all three charges brought against him by the prosecution

A court in eastern China on Friday upheld the guilty verdict and life sentence against former high-flying politician Bo Xilai, effectively ending one of the messiest political scandals to hit the ruling Chinese Communist Party in decades.

Shandong Province High People's Court in Jinan affirmed the decision handed down by a lower court in the same city last month when Bo was found guilty of all three charges brought against him.

He received the life sentence for bribe-taking, 15 years for embezzlement and seven years for abuse of power following a trial that revealed tantalizing details of the lavish lifestyles of China's elite.

READ: From rising star to scandal

The high court rejected Bo's appeal as it lacked any "factual or legal basis," court vice president Hou Jianjun told reporters in a press briefing, adding the court's decision is final.

Bo Xilai begins life sentence

    Just Watched

    Bo Xilai begins life sentence

Bo Xilai begins life sentence 02:09
PLAY VIDEO
What we learned from Bo Xilai trial

    Just Watched

    What we learned from Bo Xilai trial

What we learned from Bo Xilai trial 04:32
PLAY VIDEO
The downfall of Bo Xilai

    Just Watched

    The downfall of Bo Xilai

The downfall of Bo Xilai 02:46
PLAY VIDEO

China state broadcaster, CCTV, released footage from the court session, which showed Bo standing handcuffed between two court policemen in what was likely his last public appearance.

He appeared to be smiling while listening to the judge read the court's decision and several of Bo's family members were seen seated in the audience.

A family source told CNN the court session lasted for around 45 minutes with Bo repeatedly interrupted the judge to rebut the court's findings, angering the judge.

Bo met with his lawyer frequently after he filed the appeal and prepared diligently for the process, but his request to meet his wife was denied, the source added. Bo filed his appeal the day after his conviction in September.

Legal experts said Bo would begin to serve his sentence immediately, although he could still file a motion with the high court or the nation's Supreme People's Court to review his case based on new information or evidence. Chances of a judge accepting such a motion and overturning the verdict are slim.

'Hotel-line' prison awaits

Court documents said Bo would be incarcerated in Qincheng Prison, a maximum-security prison in Beijing where former senior officials usually serve their sentences. It's often described as having "hotel-like" conditions.

During his trial in August, Bo mounted a lively defense, denying the charges against him, according to transcripts published by the court.

Bo's glittering career drew both admirers and detractors for his populist policies. It began to unravel last year amid a murder scandal in which his wife, Gu Kailai, was convicted of poisoning British businessman, Neil Heywood.

READ: Five things not to have missed from Bo Xilai's trial

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 policy-making body of the Communist Party.

He had been tipped to ascend farther up the party hierarchy before he was sacked as party chief in the sprawling metropolis of Chongqing.

Bo's wife, Gu, was found guilty by a court last year of murdering Heywood and given a suspended death sentence.

Her video testimony formed a major part of the prosecution's case against her husband.

China's leaders are keen to put the case behind them ahead of an important Party meeting in November -- the third plenum of the Party's Central Committee -- when President Xi Jinping is expected to push for economic reforms.

"The idea is to allow a period to calm down public backlash over this issue before the party meeting," said a Beijing-based observer, who declined to be identified because he is not authorized to comment publicly.

"They want nothing to distract from the important meeting."

However, not everyone thinks Bo's political career has been laid to rest. Wang Juntao, a political exile and former class mate of Bo, says the case has only raised his profile:

"The Communist Party may have ended his career in the party, but it has given him a distinct political identity and charisma as a leftist. In a way, this has made him a hero."

READ: Reporting from China's 'show trials'

      Bo Xilai scandal

    • chinese.politician.sentenced_00023923.jpg

      Political science professor Yuhua Wang says he's surprised by the severity of the life sentence given to Chinese politician Bo Xilai.
    • This screen grab taken from state television CCTV footage broadcast on August 24, 2013 shows ousted Chinese political star Bo Xilai (C) speaking in the courtroom as he stands trial at the Intermediate People's Court in Jinan, China.

      In a letter to his family, the disgraced Communist Party leader reiterated his innocence but said he expected a lengthy prison sentence.
    • Was the trial of Bo Xilai (right) any more transparent than that of Jiang Qing and the "Gang of Four"?

      CNN Beijing bureau chief Jaime Florcruz compares his experience covering Bo's trial with a similarly explosive story in the early 1980s -- the "Gang of Four" trial.
    • This picture taken on September 29, 2008 shows the then Chongqing mayor Bo Xilan attending the "Ode to Motherland" singsong gathering in Chongqing. China's once high-flying communist politician Bo Xilai has been indicted for bribery and abuse of power, state media said on July 25, 2013 following a scandal that exposed deep divisions at the highest levels of government. CHINA OUT AFP PHOTOSTR/AFP/Getty Images

      While Chinese state media hailed the Bo Xilai trial as a show of "historic transparency," analysts saw its theatrics as part of a high-profile show trial.
    • This frame grab taken from Chinese television CCTV shows on September 18, 2012 shows former police chief Wang Lijun (R) facing the court during his trial in Chengdu, in southwest China's Sichuan province. The former police chief who set off China's biggest political scandal in years "did not contest" charges including defection and bribery at his trial, which ended on September 19, a court in Chengdu said. CHINA OUT AFP PHOTO / CCTV

      The trial of Bo Xilai concluded with claims from Bo that his former police chief had a crush on his wife, Gu Kailai, who is serving time for murder.
    • The wife of a high-profile Chinese politician found guilty of murder has been described as funny, personable, attractive and charismatic.
    • Wang Lijun pictured last year at the National People's Congress in Beijing.

      The trigger of China's biggest political scandal in a generation, Wang Lijun was once a feared police chief whose crime fighting exploits inspired a TV series.
    • pkg grant inside china heywood hotel mystery_00002515

      A run-down hotel on the outskirts of Chongqing is the unlikely setting for a murder mystery. CNN's Stan Grant looks inside.