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Trial of Bo Xilai ends in China

Prosecution calls for tough sentence after court in Jinan hears closing arguments in corruption and abuse-of-power case.

Last Modified: 26 Aug 2013 22:11
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A prosecutor has urged a Chinese court to punish Bo Xilai, the disgraced politician, with a severe sentence because of his lack of remorse over alleged corruption and abuse of power.

The trial came to a close after final arguments from both sides, with a verdict due to be announced later.

Al Jazeera talks to Joseph Cheng on Bo Xilai's trial

The proceedings, which resumed on Monday in Jinan, a city in Shandong province, to hear closing arguments, were aimed at cementing Bo's political downfall and wrapping up the scandal set off by his wife's murder of Nick Heyward, a British businessman.

They have provided what prosecutors said was adequate proof of Bo's guilt.

"The defendant's crimes are extremely grave, and he also refuses to admit guilt. As such, the circumstances do not call for a lenient punishment but a severe one, in accordance with the law," the prosecutor said, according to a transcript of court proceedings.

Four days of testimony ended on Sunday, with Bo criticising his former right-hand man, much as he had done previously to his wife, the other key witness to testify against him.

The court heard allegations over the weekend that Bo abused his power as the Communist Party secretary of the southern city of Chongqing to block an investigation into Heyward's murder, as well as to hide his aide's embarrassing flight to a US consulate.

Bo told the Jinan Intermediate People's Court that Wang Lijun, the Chongqing police chief, "constantly lied in his testimony".

Bo acknowledged that he made mistakes in the handling of the incidents that triggered the scandal and brought shame on the Communist Party, but he denied criminal misconduct.

Love triangle

The Communist Party is hoping to move on from the scandal as the recently installed new leadership tries to reinforce its authority and fully focus on tackling serious economic and social challenges.

Bo's downfall also has been widely perceived as the result of his defeat in party infighting in the run-up to last year's once-a-decade leadership transition.

The court has been publicising presumably pre-vetted details of the proceedings in a bid to lend credibility to what is widely seen as a political show trial.

Bo is also accused of funnelling $800,000 in government funds from a secret project.

During his closing statement, Bo hinted at a love triangle between his wife and Wang in an effort to save his reputation.

Bo accused his wife, Gu Kailai, for many of the corruption charges and even some aspects of the abuse of power allegation.

The trial laid out how Gu hatched a complicated plan with the help of two foreigners to hide the family's ownership of the French villa, worth millions, and set up a chain of associates through which government funds could be embezzled discreetly.

Testimony also revealed how one of the foreigners, Heywood, demanded more money by threatening the safety of Bo's son and to expose the family.

Gu later killed him with poison and received a suspended death sentence for the murder.

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Source:
Al Jazeera and agencies
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