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China's Disgraced Top Official Bo Xilai Sentenced to Life in Prison

Disgraced Chinese politician Bo Xilai was sentenced to life in prison on September 22, 2013 after being found guilty on charges of corruption, taking bribes and abuse of power. He has decided to appeal after the hearing.

According to the South China Morning Post, Bo yelled in anger when the Jinan Intermediate People's Court announced the decision, but was taken away by the court's guards. The court released its decision on its official Weibo account.

Since early 2012, the downfall of the rising political star has become one of China's most watched political scandals.

Bo Xilai, the son of one of Communist China’s founding revolutionary leaders, held high posts and was expected to rise even further. However, Bo’s career began to unravel when his wife was involved in the murder of a British businessman in China and when one of Bo's top lieutenants tried to seek asylum at the US embassy. The revelations of murder, corruption, abuse of power and sex has shocked China.

State media used Bo's trial as an example to show the rule of law and the party’s determination on crackdown against corruption.

China Daily said:

The manner in which it was conducted was a far more significant legacy. Before the trial, not many people expected that it would be broadcast via a micro blog. Viewing the trial live on the Internet, many expressed the view that this trial had set a good precedent for similar trials in the future. It is a well-touted judicial clich that court judgments must be based on facts and in accordance with the law.

People’s Daily wrote:

对薄熙来的坚决依法惩处充分表明,党纪国法面前没有例外,不管涉及到谁,都要一查到底,都要依法严惩。

The resolute punishment of Bo Xilai according to law has fully shown that there are no exceptions in the face of party discipline and state laws. No matter who is involved, they will be investigated in the end and punished according to law.

Global Times added:

China's Fallen Politician Bo Xilai Sentenced to Life Imprisonment

China's Fallen Politician Bo Xilai Sentenced to Life Imprisonment

相信薄熙来案是一记非常响亮的警钟,中央依法反腐的决心和信心都坚定不移,各种侥幸心理,以及各种怀疑都应被彻底放弃。

The Bo Xilai case is a very loud and clear alarm bell. The determination and confidence of the central authorities to counter corruption according to law is unwavering. All kinds of suspicions should be laid to rest.

Due to the recent crackdown on online rumors, most Weibo comments after Bo’s sentencing were supportive of state media. One Weibo user “Ningmen yu Shaonianyi” echoed:

薄熙来案反映了党反贪污的决心

Bo Xilai’s case has proved that the Party is determined to fight against corruption.

Beijing-based political commentator Li Weidong thought [zh] Bo’s life sentence won’t have serious impact on him:

具体刑期对薄这样的人物无多大影响,过十年八年他就可以「保外就医」出来与家人团聚。之前被判监的陈希同和陈良宇,都是坐牢几年后即「保外」出来。

Specific term won’t have much impact on such a figure, after eight or ten years, he can come out on “medical parole”. In the past, Chen Xitong and Chen Liangyu were sentenced to prison, but were out of prison after a few years.

However, professor Zhang Ming from People's University of China thought Bo’s case is by no means the end of the threat to the Party’s power. He wrote [zh] on his personal blog:

不管怎么说,薄熙来现象被中止了。但是,这个现象所提出的问题,却没有解决。中共内部的合法性危机,并不会因为最高层位置的确定而宣告结束。内部的纷争和动荡,还在发酵。中共18大之后令人反常的持续高压维稳,最大的可能,是高层的问题。跟当年审判四人帮不同,此番审理薄案,政治问题完全被抛开。但是,薄案留下的政治问题,却作为隐患依旧存在。今后的中共政权,无论乐意与否,必须得正视这个问题。

The Bo Xilai phenomenon is aborted. However, the issues raised from this phenomenon have not been resolved. The Communist Party of China's internal crisis of legitimacy will not come to an end due to the establishment of the top level. Internal strife and turmoil is still fermenting. After the 18th Chinese Communist Party, the abnormally constant maintenance of stability is most likely due to the top level issue. Different from the Gang of Four trials, political problems have been put aside on this case. However, the political issues Bo left behind still exist. In the future, whether willingly or not, the communist regime has to face the problem.

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