Bo Xilai trial: Investigation phase concludes, verdict nears

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VBK VBKAugust 25;The trial of former Politburo member Bo Xilai on Sunday moved closer to its conclusion as the court in northeastern China completed the investigation phase of the case following the key testimony of Wang Lijun, Mr. Bo’s police chief in Chongqing.

Mr. Bo strongly refuted the allegations made by Mr. Wang on Saturday – the third day of the trial – describing his once right-hand-man as “a vile character”. Mr. Wang had on Saturday detailed the chain of events following the murder of British businessman Neil Heywood, who was poisoned by Gu Kailai, Mr. Bo’s wife. He accused Mr. Bo of punching him, threatening investigators and covering up the case.

The former Politburo member and Party “princeling” is facing charges of abuse of power, related to the cover-up, and also of bribery and embezzlement. On Friday, Mr. Bo mounted a strong defence against the corruption charges, saying he was unaware of his family’s dealings with businessmen close to his wife and son.

Mr. Bo on Sunday described Mr. Wang’s testimony as “totally unreliable” and “full of deception”, according to a transcript posted by the Jinan court on its microblog, which, for the fourth day, provided updated from the proceedings.

Regarding Mr. Wang’s claim that his former boss had punched and threatened him, forcing him to seek refuge in a U.S. Consulate in Chengdu — a decision that brought the scandal into the open, embarrassed the Communist Party and derailed the former Chongqing Party Secretary’s once bright leadership prospects — Mr. Bo said, “I have never learned how to box and have no great strength to strike someone.”

As the court adjourned on Sunday morning, the State-run Xinhua news agency said the investigations phase of the proceedings had concluded. The trial will resume on Monday, with a verdict expected early next week.

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