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China indicts former politician on corruption charges

July 25, 2013

In August 2012, the political career of Bo Xilai, then the chief of the Communist Party in the Chinese region of Chongqing, came to a shocking end. He was removed from power after his wife's imprisonment over the murder of businessman and British national Neil Heywood. According to BBC News, Xilai now stands accused of corruption, bribery and various abuses of power. State prosecutors in the Shandong province city of Jinan indicted him on July 25. A trial is expected to begin fairly soon. Chinese citizens fascinated by the disturbing case are likely to discuss it on phone calls made with prepaid phone cards.

The news source reported that before Gu Xilai's arrest and sentencing - she received a suspended death sentence for the murder of Heywood - Bo was considered a major player in the Chinese political world. Despite his tendency to lean on old-fashioned Communist rhetoric, which alarmed some leaders who were more focused on reform, he was charismatic and fairly popular.

However, his wife's crime and the involvement of his police chief, Wang Lijun - who received a 15-year prison sentence for taking bribes, abuse of power and attempting to defect to the United States - led to a swift reversal of opinion among his admirers and a sense of satisfaction for his enemies.

According to USA Today, court papers describing the indictment of Bo Xilai claimed that he embezzled a "huge amount of public money, and abused his power, seriously harming the interests of the state and the people." While Xilai was also believed to have had a number of extramarital affairs with various women, these were not discussed in the charges, as they had been previously addressed in the reasons for his expulsion from the Communist Party, which took place in the fall of 2012.

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