Bo Xilai attends a municipal committee meeting in Chongqing last December. (Photo/CNS)
It has been nearly 20 days since the Politburo of the Chinese Communist Party announced the expulsion of former Chongqing party secretary Bo Xilai from the party and from public office, and the party has finally finished its internal investigation into Bo's case but the conclusions remain highly confidential, inside sources have told Duowei News, an outlet operated by overseas Chinese.
The sources said however that the disgraced politician will be brought to trial for his misdemeanors, believed to involve massive corruption and covering up his wife Gu Kailai's murder of British businessman Neil Heywood. Gu was recently given a suspended death sentence for the murder.
As Bo's case is particularly sensitive given his seniority as a former Politburo and Central Committee member and the son of revolutionary leader Bo Yibo, the specific content of the investigation has been kept a closely guarded secret.
According to convention in China, a deposed official is first investigated by the party, which will then decide if he or she is to be turned over to the judiciary for trial, where the accused is almost invariably found guilty. It is worth noting that the National People's Congress has to cancel the official's membership before a trial can proceed, as membership grants legal immunity.
The whole process usually takes a few months or longer. However, given the sensitive timing of the case ahead of the party's 18th National Congress, which is scheduled to open on Nov. 8 and oversee a once-in-a-decade leadership transition, the party may move to bring the affair to a close as soon as possible.
The British newspaper the Telegraph reported on Sunday that Bo Guagua, Bo's son by Gu Kailai, has returned to China from the United States and likely show up at his father's trial, which reports said would be held within 15 days in Changsha, the capital of Hunan province, according to insiders in Beijing and Chongqing.
A New York Times reporter said however that Bo Guagua had told the paper that is not returning to China, while the court in Changsha has also denied the trial will take place soon.
The Politburo listed Bo's crimes and misdemeanors in an announcement carried by the state newswire Xinhua on Sept. 28, which included abusing his position, taking bribes, violating organizational and personnel discipline, erroneous decisions in the promotion of personnel, maintaining improper sexual relationships with a number of women and involvement in "other" crimes. The public announcement left little doubt that after months of deliberation, the party had finally agreed to throw the book at Bo.
Citizen journalism website Boxun pointed out that the deliberate vagueness of the mention of "other" crimes leaves wiggle room in Bo's sentencing up to the last minute.
Bo Xilai 薄熙來