22 Aug 2013

Chinese politician about to go on trial

12:47 pm on 22 August 2013

Bo Xilai, a disgraced Chinese politician, is to go on trial in the city of Jinan on Thursday.

Mr Bo, 64, who has not been seen in public for 18 months, is charged with bribery, corruption and abuse of power.

Formerly the Communist Party leader in Chongqing, he has since been stripped of official roles in a scandal that has seen his wife and police chief jailed.

Mr Bo's wife, Gu Kailai, was convicted of the murder of Briton Neil Heywood. Questions emerged over the death of Mr Heywood in February 2012.

Mr Bo was once seen as a candidate for promotion to the Politburo Standing Committee. Now he faces multiple charges and is widely expected to be found guilty.

The BBC reports his downfall was seen as the biggest political shake-up amongst China's ruling elite in decades.

It is not clear to what extent trial proceedings will be made public.

No foreign journalists were given access to the trials of Gu Kailai or Wang Lijun, a police chief whose flight to a US consulate triggered the chain of events that felled Mr Bo.

Part of Wang's trial was also held in secret. The BBC reports similar rumours have circulated over Mr Bo's trial but these cannot be confirmed. It is also not known how long Mr Bo's trial will last.

It is taking place at the Intermediate People's Court in Jinan, which is in Shandong province.