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Chinese court to rule on ex-politician’s appeal

October 21, 2013

BEIJING (AP) — A Chinese provincial high court said Monday that it will hold a hearing this week to rule on disgraced politician Bo Xilai’s appeal of the guilty verdict and life imprisonment he was handed last month.

The Shandong Provincial Higher People’s Court said in a notice on its website that Bo’s appeal will be heard Friday morning. Bo is expected to be allowed to appear in court for the session. The court described the hearing as “open,” but access will likely be limited to a few official media outlets and selected members of the public.

Bo was found guilty of embezzlement, bribery and abuse of power by the Jinan Intermediate People’s Court last month and sentenced to life in prison. He has denied the charges.

The court can uphold the lower court’s decision, modify the sentence or ask for a retrial. It is expected to stick to the verdict because Bo’s fate has been seen by political analysts as predetermined by the highest leadership of the Communist Party, which controls the court system.

Bo, once the party boss of the megacity of Chongqing, had been an up-and-coming political star before his downfall in one of China’s messiest political scandals in decades. It was triggered early last year by his former police chief, who made a high-profile flight to a U.S. consulate bearing revelations that Bo’s wife had murdered a British businessman.

Bo’s naked ambition and penchant for publicity had also run afoul of China’s consensus rule and posed a challenge to Xi Jinping, who ascended to China’s top leadership position in a power transition late last year.