China discipline warning after Bo Xilai expelled

Damian Grammaticas reports from Beijing

China's official news agency Xinhua has warned that no-one, no matter what rank, will be immune from Communist Party discipline.

The statement came hours after state media reported that top politician Bo Xilai was being expelled from the party to face criminal charges.

Mr Bo, the ex-Communist Party leader in the city of Chongqing, is accused of abuse of power and corruption.

His wife was given a suspended death sentence for murdering a UK national.

In August, Gu Kailai was found guilty of murdering British businessman Neil Heywood in November 2011.

The scandal has overshadowed the party congress that will oversee China's change of leadership, which is expected to see Xi Jinping replace Hu Jintao as president. It will begin on 8 November, state media have announced.

Timeline: Bo Xilai scandal

  • 6 Feb: Chongqing police chief Wang Lijun flees to the US consulate in Chengdu
  • 15 Mar: Bo Xilai is removed from his post in Chongqing
  • 20 Mar: Rumours suggest Mr Bo could be linked to the death of British businessman Neil Heywood
  • 10 Apr: Mr Bo is suspended from party posts and his wife, Gu Kailai, is investigated over Mr Heywood's death
  • 26 July: Gu Kailai and Bo family employee Zhang Xiaojun are charged with killing Mr Heywood
  • 9 Aug: Gu one-day trial for murder held
  • 20 Aug: Gu given suspended death sentence
  • 5 Sep: Wang charged with defection, abuse of power and bribe-taking
  • 24 Sep: Wang sentenced to 15 years in jail
  • 28 Sep: Bo Xilai expelled from party to "face justice"

Before the scandal broke, 63-year-old Mr Bo had been a prime candidate for a top post.

Reporting an official statement from a party leaders' meeting as it announced the decision, the state news agency, Xinhua, said the party must recognise the "perennial, complex and arduous nature of the anti-corruption fight".

The battle against corruption should be given a more prominent place on its agenda, Xinhua reports, "leaving no room for corrupt figures to hide within the party".

The statement urged "party organisations at all levels" to take heed of the "negative example" of the Bo Xilai case.

The BBC's Martin Patience, in Beijing, says the Bo Xilai announcement ends months of speculation over the fate of a man who was once one of China's most powerful politicians.

Our correspondent says it is clear China's leaders wanted to try to end the damaging revelations, with the once-in-a-decade leadership change looming.

He says Mr Bo's career is over and he will almost certainly spend time in jail.

'Grave repercussions'

Mr Bo has not been seen in public since mid-March, shortly after the scandal erupted and it was announced he was under investigation. He was suspended from his party posts in April.

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Can people trust the government and the party any more?”

End Quote Post by Qinyang on QQ.com

Xinhua said Mr Bo stood accused of corruption, abuse of power, bribe-taking and improper relations with women.

The statement carried by Xinhua said Mr Bo "took advantage of his office to seek profits for others and received huge bribes personally and through his family".

It added: "Bo's behaviour brought serious consequences, badly undermined the reputation of the party and the country, created very negative impact at home and abroad and significantly damaged the cause of the party and people."

Xinhua said the violations included Mr Bo's time as an official in Dalian and Liaoning provinces, and as minister of commerce.

"Bo had affairs and maintained improper sexual relationships with a number of women," the statement added.

Xinhua said Mr Bo had been expelled from the party and the elite decision-making Politburo and Central Committee as he had "abused his power, made severe mistakes and bore major responsibility in the Wang Lijun incident and the intentional homicide case of [Gu Kailai]".

Wang Lijun was Chongqing's former police chief who was sentenced to 15 years in jail for ''bending the law, defection, abuse of power and bribetaking" in the Neil Heywood case.

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