Fallen Chinese Politician Bo Xilai Loses Appeal

Denial marks the final disgrace of former Communist Party highflyer whose graft trial became China's biggest political scandal in decades

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Xie Huanchi / Xinhua Press / Corbis

Bo Xilai, center, at the Jinan Intermediate People's Court in Jinan, capital of eastern China's Shandong province, on Aug. 26, 2013

Bo Xilai, the disgraced Communist Party boss, had his appeal against a life sentence for bribery, embezzlement and abuse of power denied Friday during a brief hearing at the Shandong Higher People’s Court in eastern China.

This final dishonoring of China’s most charismatic and controversial politician was never in any doubt. While appeals are technically part of the Chinese judicial system, they are almost never successful in high-profile cases. For more than a year, the Chinese Communist Party made it clear that Bo would fall — and Chinese courts are bound to follow the mandate of the ruling party.

A former Politburo member and the princeling son of a Communist Party elder, 64-year-old Bo had once been tapped as a possible future member of the Standing Committee that rules China. But in the most scandalous episode to strike the Chinese Communist Party in decades, he was removed from power last year, after his deputy tried to defect at a U.S. consulate in southwestern China and his wife was implicated in the murder of a British business consultant. (Bo’s deputy, Wang Lijun, is serving a 15-year jail sentence, while Bo’s wife Gu Kailai was handed a suspended death sentence last year.)

(VIDEO: As Bo Xilai Goes to Trial, Disgraced Chinese Official Still Has His Fans)

As the hours to the decision on the Friday appeal ticked down, Bo’s fate was relegated to non-news status on Chinese state-linked media websites, which ran with homepage stories on strengthened ties between China and the E.U. and the impending departure of a giant inflatable duck from a Beijing lake, among other articles.

Still, the denouement in the Bo case proved a hot topic on Weibo, the Chinese microblogging platform. Some fans of Bo — who gained support for his populist Maoist revival campaign even as he trampled over individual rights during his time as party boss of the sprawling southwestern municipality of Chongqing — expressed their disgust with what they considered an unfair fight.

“The reality is very cruel,” wrote one Weibo user. “When the tiger and dragon fight with each other, the loser usually will be suppressed brutally by the winner. Sometimes human beings are no different from animals. I feel pity for [Bo].” Others commented on the predictability of the appeal rejection. “The director of this play will not change his script,” opined another Weibo user.

Aware of the poor reputation of its officials among the Chinese public, the Communist Party has launched a well-publicized corruption crackdown. Xi Jinping, who came to power as China’s leader last year, has made tackling official graft one of his signature campaigns. A report released this month by China’s Supreme People’s Procuratorate stated that 32 ministerial-level officials (including Bo) had been investigated for graft from January 2008 to August 2013. A story on the judicial report by Xinhua, China’s state news service, did not mention whether all 32 senior cadres had been found guilty. It didn’t need to — Chinese reading the story know well the inevitability of these disgraced officials’ fates.

With reporting by Gu Yongqiang / Beijing

MORE: Viewpoint: China’s Bo Xilai Trial

30 comments
pvalerie321
pvalerie321

Actually, Bo is an anti-corruption and anti-injustice guy rarely found amongst Chinese communists. He was trying to fight corruption and injustice where he was governor.  Unfortunately, corrupted officials/systems are so much more powerful that he lost the battle.  Power struggle in the party was also one of reasons he lost. Now he got a title of "corrupted official" from a real corrupted court system in China. It is a miserable justice system there. He was not 100% innocent, but was million times better than other 99.9999% officials.

daridekas
daridekas

his case is nothing comparing with the degree of corruption that exists in the chinese communist party today.but somebody has to pay from time to time so that the others will continue doing quietly  their dirty jobs.

admin2:invetrics  

Jayson
Jayson

Anyway , people like him who are corrupt  should de condemned punishment in every corner of the world .

Rich Dooley Jr.
Rich Dooley Jr.

sure, sharia law..... thought we were against that....

Sulav Magpies Karki
Sulav Magpies Karki

Everyone knows that Courts in China are controlled by the Communist party, no surprises...but it's not enough

perhapshey
perhapshey

博侯爷。成王败寇,一直是这样。

Neal Rhorer
Neal Rhorer

And here in the good old USA we just reelect them

jefforsythe9
jefforsythe9

@pvalerie321 Actually, Bo and his wife were the two people responsible for obtaining the perfectly healthy bodies that were used in the Body Show that travelled Worldwide. These skinned bodies were innocent Falun Gong practitioners obtained from slave camps in Bo's jurisdiction. These heinous crimes were never mentioned at his trial because his comrades in the blood-thirsty Chinese Communist Party had shared in the profits. This is the truth about BO and the evil CCP. 

lhypuyol
lhypuyol

@Lector Paulus Petrus Kim your view is too much. Not every communist but many, there are still many good persons in the Communist Party.

lhypuyol
lhypuyol

@perhapshey Will you call Xi Jinping 'duke' if Bo won? Whether you sympathize the loser only?

perhapshey
perhapshey

@Feiya Lin 怎么了,你什么观点?

duduong
duduong

@Neal Rhorer 

Not just that, the American approach is to make bribery legal, e.g. campaign donations, revolving door job arrangement, etc. Common Americans often confuse legality with justice, and American laws with universal nature.

lhypuyol
lhypuyol

@Kevin Wi Seems that you knew the truth.