NPC Paving Way for Bo Xilai Trial

The South China Morning Post reported Tuesday that The National People’s Congress will likely strip Bo Xilai of his membership next week, which would revoke the disgraced former Chongqing party chief’s legal immunity ahead of his criminal trial:

Xinhua reported yesterday that the NPC Standing Committee would meet from October 23 to 26 and members would review “the membership status of certain delegates”.

A decision to kick Bo, a former member of the Communist Party Politburo, out of the NPC would be put to a vote at the end of a four-day session, analysts said.

They added that stripping the former Chongqing party secretary of his NPC membership was constitutionally required to pave the way for criminal proceedings against him.

“It is the final move to wrap up the administrative procedures that enable criminal charges against him, because under the Chinese constitution NPC deputies are immune from criminal prosecution,” said Gu Su, a constitutional law expert at Nanjing University.

Bo had already been expelled from the Chinese Communist Party last month, when the government announced that he would face charges of corruption, abuse of power, and other organizational and disciplinary violations. A Chengdu court sentenced Bo’s former police chief and right-hand man in Chongqing, Wang Lijun, to 15 years in prison for a similar string of charges and for attempting defection when he turned up at the U.S. consolate in Chengdu in February to divulge details connected to the murder of British businessman Neil Heywood. Bo’s wife, Gu Kailai, was found guilty in August of murdering Heywood, and received a suspended death sentence. Completing Bo’s trial before next month’s National People’s Congress would allow the CCP to put a lid on the country’s biggest political scandal in decades and, at least for now, look ahead to its upcoming leadership transition.

Over the weekend, son Bo Guagua denied reports that he had returned to China to prepare for his father’s trial.