BEIJING – Bo Xilai, the charismatic former Chinese Communist Party boss of Chongqing who was purged last year and whose wife was convicted of poisoning a British business associate, has been charged with bribery, corruption and abuse of power, authorities said Thursday.
The announcement by Jinan City People's Procuratorate in Shandong province, reported by the state-run New China News Agency, did not say when Bo would go on trial, but close followers of the case expect the proceedings to begin in mid-August.
Bo was fired from his post as Communist Party secretary in Chongqing in March 2012 and was stripped of his position as one of the 25 members of the Politburo. He will become one of the highest-level party officials prosecuted in years.
The son of one of Mao Tse-tung's closest comrades, he was until last year considered a rival to Xi Jinping, who took the reins of the Communist Party in November and became president in March. Many had expected Bo to go on trial last October, ahead of the party's leadership transition, so that Xi and his new team could take office with a clean slate.
In Chongqing, Bo had spearheaded a revival of dancing and singing of revolutionary songs and a Cultural Revolution-style crackdown on crime. He became a hero to many Chinese nostalgic about communism as it existed before China's reform and opening.
In announcing Bo's ouster from the party last fall, the news agency said that Bo had "received huge bribes personally and through his family ... and maintained improper sexual relationships with a number of women."
He also was accused of helping cover up misdeeds by his wife, Gu Kailai, who was convicted of murder in the poisoning death of Neil Heywood last summer and received a suspended death sentence. Bo has not been seen in public since last year.