China court rejects ousted politician Bo Xilai’s appeal

China court rejects ousted politician Bo Xilai’s appeal

JINAN, China - The Associated Press
China court rejects ousted politician Bo Xilai’s appeal

Bo(C), once a rising star in China’s leadership circles, was jailed for life in September after a dramatic fall from grace that shook the Communist Party. REUTERS photo

Ousted politician Bo Xilai lost his appeal against a life sentence for corruption in his final public appearance on Oct. 25 before prison - an inglorious end for the once-rising star whose vaulting ambition unnerved China’s leadership.

The former Politburo member had fallen from power in a scandal that became a volatile distraction for the Communist Party, unleashing tales of murder and betrayal in the highest ranks. On Oct. 25, two security guards with hands on his shoulders escorted him out of the courtroom - and off the political stage - ahead of a key leadership meeting next month on economic policy.

The Shandong Provincial Higher People’s Court decision to uphold Bo’s conviction and life sentence for corruption and abuse of power came as no surprise. Many political analysts believe Bo’s fate has been predetermined by party leaders keen to put him away long enough to prevent him from making a comeback.

However, hints of the charismatic populist’s legacy remain in the party’s renewed emphasis on connecting with the people. Bo, a former Politburo member and party boss in Chongqing, was convicted last month of embezzlement, bribery and abuse of power, and sentenced to life in prison.

The conclusion of Bo’s case bolts the door on a vexing scandal for the party leadership that included embarrassing revelations that Bo’s wife murdered a British businessman and that his former aide made a failed attempt to defect to the United States.