[JURIST] China’s former Communist Party leader Bo Xilai [BBC report] was sentenced to life in prison on Sunday for corruption, embezzlement and abuse of power. Bo was convicted for using his position in the Communist Party of China (CPC) to accept bribes [Xinhua report] in the form of property and money for himself and others from 1999 to 2012. The Jinan Intermediate People’s Court stripped Bo of all political rights and seized his personal assets. Chinese authorities formally charged [JURIST report] Bo in July. His case has been viewed as a challenge for China’s new president Xi Jinping, who has faced pressure from within the CPC to punish Bo lightly and to avoid a public trial.
The Chinese government has worked in recent years to reform its judicial system and combat corruption. In September the Chinese Ministry of Supervision announced plans to investigate [JURIST report] Jiang Jiemin, director of the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission. The investigation stemmed from Jiemin’s alleged involvement in an undisclosed “serious discipline violation.” 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 anti-corruption rules [JURIST report] in an efforts to increase public confidence in the rule of law.