China’s Fallen Politician Bo Xilai Sentenced to Life Imprisonment


There was no surprise turn. On the morning of Sept. 22, Bo Xilai — once one of China’s most coruscant politicians before his Shakespearean downfall — was sentenced to life imprisonment on charges of bribery, embezzlement and abuse of power. The sentencing at the Jinan Intermediate People’s Court, the first time Bo was publicly seen in handcuffs, capped off a year-and-a-half-long scandal that allowed outsiders to glimpse the sordid subornation of China’s ruling Communist Party. Bo was also, as noted in the breaking news brief by Chinese state news agency Xinhua, deprived of his political rights for life.

Bo’s tale included plot points that the Bard himself would have discarded as straining even the most willing suspension of disbelief. There was murder by cyanide (by Bo’s wife Gu Kailai, of a British business consultant). There was a renegade police chief, Wang Lijun, who likely catalyzed the entire public scandal by…

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