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Bo Xilai decries life sentence as ‘unfair’,’unjust’

Court found Bo guilty on three counts of bribery, embezzlement and abuse of power.

Written by PTI | Beijing |
September 23, 2013 4:27:15 pm

Fallen Chinese leader Bo Xilai reacted angrily,shouting “unfair” and “unjust”,when a Chinese court gave him a life sentence in a corruption case before he was forcibly taken out of the courtroom.

Bo,64,erupted in anger after the judge in Jinan

Intermediate People’s Court on Sunday sentenced him for

corruption and abuse of power.

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The former Politburo member yelled out “Unfair!” and “Unjust!” in an explosive ending to one of China’s most politically charged trials in decades,Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post reported.

“The decision was not based on facts. The court is neither open nor just and didn’t take the points made by my defence lawyers and me,” Bo shouted before being forcibly taken away by the court’s guards.

Analysts say that the life sentence ensures that Bo,who headed the pro-Maoist faction in the ruling Communist Party of China (CPC),will not have a chance to come out of prison until the scheduled retirement of President Xi Jinping in 2022.

Xi,regarded as part of the pro-reform faction in the CPC,was elected by the Party Congress late last year as the new General Secretary for a 10-year period.

The court found Bo guilty on three counts of bribery,embezzlement and abuse of power. Besides the life sentence,he was stripped of political rights and his assets were seized.

Bo’s defiant outburst,consistent with the combative performance he put up during his five-day trial last month,was omitted from official accounts of the proceedings,the report said.

The court’s microblog said only that Bo “was escorted out of the courtroom” after the verdict was announced.

State media,including CCTV,showed footage and pictures of Bo,the highest leader go on trial in recent years,in handcuffs with a hint of a smile as the verdict was read out.

Outside the court,the police presence appeared heavier than during the trial,underscoring the sensitivity of the event and to prevent protests by his supporters.

The sentence is the most severe punishment of a former Politburo member since the so-called Gang of Four’s trial in

1980-81 involving Mao Zedong’s widow,Jiang Qing.

Bo’s trial capped an 18-month political drama that some feared would cause a major rift in the Communist Party.

He is expected to appeal,which many believe will not alter the sentence but could be used by him to vent his anger and frustration.

The sentence surprised some analysts,who believed that Bo,formerly the Chongqing party boss,would receive a relatively light punishment,the Post report said.

As the princeling son of the late revolutionary Bo Yibo,Bo was seen as a standard-bearer for the party’s more conservative wing.

His campaigns to revive Mao Zedong-era culture and to crack down on crime made him popular in Chongqing,the city he headed,but a controversial figure among rights advocates and party liberals.

Bo now faces the prospect of life behind bars,although mainland criminal law could allow his sentence to be commuted to 15-20 years after he has served two years and made an “extraordinary contribution”,the report said.

However,the sentence means Bo cannot expect to be

released until after the 20th party congress in 2022,when Xi is scheduled to retire as party chief.

The Post quoted an official from China’s central cabinet as saying that the leadership tried to account for all possibilities while deciding on Bo’s sentence.

If he had been given a lighter sentence,such as 15-20 years,he could potentially have been released in as few as eight years. “Then,he could still become a very destabilising factor for the party,” the unnamed official said.

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