Trial reveals greed of China's elite
JINAN, China — Greed, machinations and betrayal in one of China's elite families were laid bare when prosecutors in the corruption trial of disgraced politician Bo Xilai released testimony from his wife on a businessman's gifts to the family that included a French villa and plane tickets to three continents.
A city official on Saturday testified that Bo had embezzled 5 million yuan ($816,927) of government funds, a charge the former politician has denied.
The lurid details have a serious political side, with the ruling Communist Party using the trial against Bo, a former party leader of the megacity of Chongqing, to cap a messy political scandal unleashed by suspicions that his wife killed a British businessman.
Bo's trial had been expected to be swift, but observers say he may have negotiated for his day in court.
“It's most likely that Bo has made concessions to the disciplinary commission to win a chance to defend himself in the trial,” said lawyer Zhang Sizhi, who has represented defendants in high-profile political cases, including Mao Zedong's wife in 1980.
Courtroom revelations by the prosecution have laid bare the way that shady ties between powerful officials and businessmen can play out in China, as well as the extent to which a political family might go to hide its wealth. Part of the couple's influence comes from the pedigree as the children of revolutionary veterans, a status that gives them access to important political and business networks.
Prosecutors depicted Bo as trading favors with Xu Ming, a businessman in the northeastern city of Dalian, where Bo was a top official. Bo, they said, acted as Xu's political patron, helping the businessman take over a football club and secure land for a hot-air balloon project in return for expensive gifts for the family that included a villa in France.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Surfer seriously injured in Australian shark attack
- Turkey aims guns at Kurdish rebels
- Extremist strikes again in attack on gay parade in Jerusalem
- China says U.S. trying to militarize South China Sea
- India hangs man who raised funds in support of 1993’s deadly Mumbai bombings
- Former Omar deputy to lead Afghan Taliban
- Nigerian leader: U.S. law based on alleged human rights violations ‘aids’ Boko Haram
- Nigeria celebrates year without polio
- On final day in Kenya, Obama makes it personal in call for reform
- Syria’s embattled President Assad admits manpower shortage
- Turkey to stick with air offensive in ISIS battle