The controversial and charismatic Bo Xilai was aiming for the pinnacle of Chinese political power. Now he has been charged with abuse of power.
Chinese prosecutors formally charged disgraced political leader Bo Xilai with bribery, embezzlement, and abuse of power on Thursday, setting the stage for the country’s biggest trial in nearly 40 years.
No date has been set for the hearing, which could open as early as next week, in Jinan, capital of the eastern province of Shandong. But the indictment, coming 16 months after Mr. Bo was detained, marks a bold step in the campaign against official corruption that new President Xi Jinping has made a cornerstone of his rule.
“This shows the current leadership is determined to send a message to senior cadres that no matter who you are … if you are guilty you can be tried,” says Huang Jing, a specialist in Chinese politics at the National University of Singapore.
But the trial will be a delicate affair; Bo has extensive connections throughout the ruling Communist Party and remains a popular figure, admired for his emphasis on social spending and nostalgic “Red Song” campaign, harking back to the days of Mao Zedong.