|Bo’s unrepentant stand drew heavier sentence
Former Chongqing Communist Party big wig Bo Xilai’s aggressive defense at his five-day trial in Jinan may have worked against his interests, China-watchers believe.
He was jailed 15 years for embezzlement and seven years for abuse of power today. (Judge Wang Xuguang reads the verdict).
A photo posted by the court showed a hand-cuffed Bo, dressed in an open-collared white shirt, black trousers and black athletic shoes, in the court surrounded by four uniformed police officers.
At a press conference, court spokesman Liu Yanjie said that Bo did not indicate in court whether or not he would appeal, AFP reports.
Joseph Cheng, a China politics expert at City University of Hong Kong, said that Bo contesting the charges during his trial was a factor in the harsh sentence.
“A defiant attitude and refusing to admit one's guilt is considered bad behavior and attracts a heavier sentence,'' Cheng told AFP.
“Bo Xilai would certainly like to retain a chance of a political comeback, and a heavier sentence from the state certainly indicates a rejection of any chance of giving him a political comeback,'' he added.
“This deprivation of political rights for life is an implicit answer to that kind of demand.''
The proceedings took place amid stepped up security outside the court, with dozens of police surrounding the building in Jinan, capital of eastern China's Shandong province.
Dozens of police, some uniformed and others in plain clothes surrounded the court today. Barricades and barriers were erected more than 50 meters away from the court to prevent people from approaching.
A select group of media was allowed into a penned off area in front of the courthouse, where they clamored to take photos of vehicles entering the court.
Passers-by hurried towards a shopping center, showing little interest in the proceedings.
“Ordinary people don't know much about these political matters,'' a 22-year-old motorcycle driver surnamed Guo said Saturday, as he sheltered from rain outside a noodle restaurant. “Top officials are very distant from our everyday lives.''
Despite the life sentence, Bo might not spend all his remaining days in prison. In the past, senior Chinese politicians given prison terms have reportedly been released on medical parole and held under strict security at their family homes.