A clean-shaven Bo Xilai before his downfall. (Photo/CNS)
Bo Xilai, the disgraced former Chinese Communist Party chief of Chongqing, could face life imprisonment, a death sentence or a suspended death sentence because of his uncooperative attitude since his detention, a Hong Kong newspaper said Tuesday.
After Bo was removed from his posts in March for "serious violations of discipline," he was held in a villa in suburban Beijing, the Chinese-language Ming Pao newspaper reported, citing sources in Beijing.
From the very beginning of the investigation, Bo had not been cooperative and often shouted at the investigators, the report said. He grew a beard in protest, the paper reported.
After he was relieved of his position in the National People's Congress and arrested formally by the Supreme People's Procuratorate, he was sent to the maximum security Qincheng Prison. At one point, he went on a hunger strike and had to be force-fed.
China's top brass is angry at the situation, and is now investigating Bo's elder brother Bo Xiyong and his two younger brothers Bo Xicheng and Bo Xining, the report said, citing sources close to Bo.
The allegations against Bo Xicheng involve the disclosure of national secrets and money issues, the paper said.
It said Bo Xilai is calmer now and is allowed to read selected newspapers, but is still not permitted to watch television.
Bo Xilai's case is unlikely to be put on trial soon after the 18th National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party ends on Nov. 14, the report said.
The paper said the Supreme People's Procuratorate is drawing on its best men to investigate Bo Xilai's case. It said a senior official at the Procuratorate told his subordinates that they should learn from the case of Cheng Kejei, former vice chairman of the China's People's Congress.
In 2000, Cheng and his lover were accused of taking more than 40 million yuan (US$6.42 million) in bribes and was executed. He was the highest ranking Chinese official to be sentenced to death by the court since the Communists took power in China in 1949.
Bo Xilai's downfall began after Wang Lijun, a former vice mayor and police chief in Chongqing, fled to the US consulate in Chengdu in February, reportedly seeking asylum in fear of his life after he told Bo Xilai about the murder of British businessman Neil Heywood. Bo Xilai's wife, Gu Kailai, was allegedly involved in the murder.
Gu was given a suspended death sentence in August, while Wang was sentenced to 15 years in prison in September.