Bo Xilai trial to open next week: state-backed paper


BEIJING — China’s disgraced former senior politician, Bo Xilai, will go on trial next week, a Beijing-backed Hong Kong newspaper said on Friday, in what would be the final act of a drama that has shaken the ruling Communist Party.

Bo, once a contender for the top leadership in the world’s second-largest economy, was ousted in China’s biggest political scandal in two decades last year following his wife’s murder of a British businessman, Neil Heywood. The mainland China-run Ta Kung Pao newspaper said on its website that Bo’s trial would start on Monday in the southern city of Guiyang and last three days. It cited “well-informed Beijing sources,” but gave no details. One of Bo’s lawyers, Li Guifang, declined to comment when reached by telephone. Reuters was unable to reach his second lawyer, Wang Zhaofeng, despite repeated telephone calls. A court official in Guiyang who gave his family name as Li said he had not heard anything about the case. “The case has not yet even been put forward for prosecution,” he added. A source with direct knowledge of the case told Reuters he “had not heard” that the trial would begin next week. China’s Foreign Ministry, typically the only government department which regularly fields questions from foreign reporters, said questions about Bo’s trial should be referred to the “relevant authorities” and declined further comment. Telephone calls to the Central Committee for Discipline Inspection, the party’s top corruption fighting body, went unanswered. The number for the Justice Ministry’s spokesman’s office was disconnected. Officials reached by telephone in Guiyang said they were unaware of the case.