China: Disgraced Politician Bo Xilai Calls Former Aide A Liar As Trial Continues

Bo Xilai
Bo Xilai

The trial of Bo Xilai, the disgraced Chinese politician, has been adjourned until Monday following an unscheduled third day of revelations and politically charged accusations.

So far the trial under way in Jinan, in Shandong province, has been made very public, with each side attempting to discredit the other.

Before the court adjourned on Sunday, Bo, a former Communist Party politburo member and party leader of Chongqing, also sought to discredit his former top aide as a liar and an unreliable witness.

He told the Jinan Intermediate People’s Court that his former right-hand man Wang Lijun, the Chongqing police chief , “was a person of very vile quality who first, lied in court, and secondly, muddied the waters”.

Wang claims that he told Bo about his wife Gu Kailai’s involvement in the murder of Neil Heywood, a British businessman, and Bo reacted furiously and punched him.

Wang says he then fled to a US consulate for protection.

Wang said he believed Bo had ordered an investigation into the police officers involved in the murder case to try to shield Gu.

Bo denied trying to cover up the murder, and in questioning Wang forced him to respond that the police chief had known in advance of Gu’s intentions to carry out the crime.

For covering up the murder and other offences, Wang was sentenced last year to 15 years in prison.

At the close of Sunday morning’s hearing, the court said all evidence had been presented and that the trial was adjourned till Monday.

On the trial’s third day, on Saturday, Bo called his wife “crazy”, dismissing her testimony against him as vengeance for the fact he had been unfaithful.

He also told the court that his wife stole $800,000 of government funds without his involvement after he had cheated on her.

He rejected prosecution claims that he knew his wife, Gu Kailai, was taking the money in 2000 when she moved to England with their son, Bo Guagua, following revelations of Bo’s affair with a 20-something secretary.

Bo told Jinan Intermediate People’s Court that he did not know she intended to take the money.

He admitted that the sum eventually showed up in his wife’s account, and that he had not acted soon enough to get the money back.

“I am ashamed of it. I was too careless, because this is public money,” Bo told the court. “I failed to retrieve the money later, and that’s a factual statement, but can you say I had the intention to embezzle the money? No.”

The Communist Party is using the trial against Bo to cap a political scandal fuelled by suspicions that his wife killed Heywood.

That scandal led to Bo’s removal from office, cemented by criminal charges of interfering with a murder investigation and netting $4.3m through corruption.

The court’s release of trial proceedings are in sharp contrast with the August 2012 conviction of Gu, when she pleaded guilty to Heywood’s murder in daylong proceedings and scant details were released.

She was convicted of the murder and was given a suspended death sentence.

Prosecutors have also charged that he accepted bribes from businessmen in the form of money or gifts to his family – including a villa in Nice, France, and plane tickets to three continents – in exchange for political favours.

The charges of bribery and embezzlement carry penalties of between 10 years and life imprisonment, or death in severe cases, while the abuse of power charge could result in up to seven years in jail.

Courts in China are controlled by the Communist Party and so a conviction is expected. Bo denies all charges. [AlJazeera]