China’s Bo Xilai Expelled From Office; Faces Criminal Charges

Charged with corruption and abuse of power, top Chinese politician Bo Xilai has been expelled from the Communist Party.

Bo was turned over to “judicial organs” for prosecution, state-controlled Xinhua News Agencyreports.

In August, his wife, Gu Kailai, who was convicted of murdering UK national Neil Heywood, was given a suspended death sentence, BBCreports.

Since the murder scandal broke out in mid-March and Bo was announced to be under investigation, he has not been seen in the public eye.

In addition to being accused of corruption, he is also accused of abuse of power, improper relations with women, and bribe-taking, a statement announced:

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“[Bo] took advantage of his office to seek profits for others and received huge bribes personally and through his family…Bo’s behaviour brought serious consequences, badly undermined the reputation of the party and the country, created very negative impact at home and abroad and significantly damaged the cause of the party and people.”

According to Xinhua, Bo had been removed from his party and stripped of his elite decision-making with Politburo and Central Committees for his severe mistakes. The news agency also alleges Bo bore responsibility in his wife’s homicide case.

To many, Bo was considered to be a likely candidate for top office before the scandal broke out, The Associated Press reports.

Some in China did not expect such severe accusation against Bo and thought he may evade criminal prosecution because of his position. Yet, the changing of China’s political party, which Bo was part of and which only occurs once every decade, may have influenced the decision.