Disgraced Bo Xilai has had another indignity heaped upon him. He has been expelled from the National People’s Congress. The significance of that is that it removes his legislator’s immunity from prosecution. A criminal case against him will now certainly move ahead.
What the charges will be is not yet known. When he was expelled from the Party late last month he was accused of abuse of power, bribe-taking and violating party discipline, a pro-forma rap sheet. His wife, Gu Kailai, was convicted in August in connection with the murder of British businessman Neil Heywood, while Bo’s former fixer in Chongqing when he was Party boss there, police chief Wang Lijun, has also been convicted for his part in an affair that has rocked the top echelons of the Party in the run up to the leadership transition.
By leaving the punishments to the courts, the leadership has been able to delineate this as an exceptional case. Few, though, think, murder apart, that abuse of power and bribe-taking within elite circles is anything exceptional beyond that in this case it spilled so spectacularly out into the open.