Chinese court agrees to hear Bo Xilai appeal: statement


A Chinese court will consider an appeal by fallen Communist Party star Bo Xilai after he was convicted of bribery, embezzlement and abuse of power last month, a statement said Wednesday.

Bo had “refused to accept the decision” at his trial and submitted an appeal to the Shandong High Court, the court said in a statement on its website.

“This court, upon investigation, decided in accordance with the law to accept.”

Bo, the central figure in China’s biggest political scandal in decades, was sentenced to life in prison in September by the Intermediate People’s Court in Jinan, the provincial capital of Shandong.

Experts have said an appeal is unlikely to succeed, with the ruling Communist Party retaining strict control over the judiciary.

Yet at a sensational five-day trial in August, Bo, a member of the party’s top 25-member Politburo before his downfall, mounted a spirited defence rarely seen in Chinese courts, where defendants typically quickly admit guilt.

His decision to appeal drags the process out for a further stage. A year and a half passed between his fall and the trial, amid reports that factions at the topmost levels of the ruling party were divided over how to handle the issue.

Bo had been a popular politician with an unusually open and charismatic style, but some political leaders feared his ambition would challenge party unity. AFP


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