China on Friday announced the expulsion of disgraced Politburo member Bo Xilai from the National People’s Congress or Parliament, stripping the once powerful leader of immunity from criminal prosecution and paving the way for his trial.
Mr. Bo was, last month, expelled from the Communist Party, accused of covering up his wife’s role in the murder of a British business associate of the Bo family, Neil Heywood. The Politburo said, following a September 28 meeting, that investigations showed Mr. Bo had also “received huge bribes”, indicating that he was likely to be put on trial for corruption charges.
The Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress, the legislature, said in a brief statement on Friday it had terminated Mr. Bo’s post as a deputy – a position that granted him immunity from criminal prosecution.
While the CPC has moved quickly to close the chapter on a turbulent political scandal, it remains unclear whether Mr. Bo will be put on trial before the November 8 Party Congress, which will formalise the leadership transition. Before his expulsion, the former Chongqing Party Secretary was expected to have played a major role in the transition, seen as a candidate for a seat on the next Politburo Standing Committee.
The Politburo statement last month, which listed a range of misdemeanours from corruption to the abuse of power, suggested Mr. Bo is likely to face a lengthy sentence. The previous two Politburo members who were prosecuted had to wait almost a year following their expulsions to stand trial, with the party, in earlier instances, looking to minimise public attention and ensure a smooth transition process by delaying their trials.