China's former Communist Party leader Bo Xilai [BBC report] has been formally charged with corruption, embezzlement and abuse of power, the state-run news agency, Xinhua [official website], announced [Xinhua report] on Thursday. Bo allegedly used his position in the Communist Party of China (CPC) to accept bribes in the form of property and money for himself and others. Bo's case is viewed as a challenge [WP report] for China's new president Xi Jinping, who faced pressure from within the CPC not to punish Bo harshly and to avoid a public trial. Though Xinhua stated that Bo's arrest is an example of China's "strong determination" to end corruption, Chinese authorities have continued to detain [JURIST report] anti-corruption activist Xu Zhiyong for "assembling a crowd to disrupt order in a public place."
The Chinese government has worked in recent years to reform its judicial system and combat corruption. In March the chief justice of China's Supreme Court urged [JURIST report] the country to continue to implement legal reform to combat corruption and foster social and economic growth. In December 2010 a former Chinese corruption official was executed [JURIST report] for accepting more than USD $4.7 million in bribes. In July of that same year, China executed [JURIST report] its top judicial official for accepting bribes, protecting criminal gangs and rape. In March 2010 a life sentence for former vice president of the Supreme People's Court (SPC) for bribery and embezzlement was upheld [JURIST report]. Earlier that month, SPC president called for increased efforts to fight corruption [JURIST report] in China's court system. In January 2010 the SPC announced a set of new ant-corruption rules [JURIST report] in an efforts to increase public confidence in the rule of law.