China | Transfer of Power, Bo Xilai Sentenced to Life in Prison
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Transfer of Power, Bo Xilai Sentenced to Life in Prison
On Nov. 8, 2012, the Chinese Communist Party's 18th Congress convened in Beijing, beginning its leadership transition, with Vice President Xi Jinping set to take over as president. In preparation, Xi was named chairman of the Central Military Commission and general secretary of the Communist Party. He assumed the presidency of China in March 2013. Li Yuanchao was named vice president. It was only the second time since the party was established in 1949 that power was transferred from one leader to another without violence or protest. Xi was expected to propose several changes to China's social and economic policies, and in Nov. 2013, the party announced it was relaxing its one-child policy to allow urban parents who were both only children to have two children and was abolishing its system of "re-education through labor."
On Sept. 22, 2013, prominent Chinese politician Bo Xilai was sentenced to life in prison. He had been found guilty of embezzlement, accepting bribes, and abuses of power, including a failed attempt to stifle the murder allegations against his wife. His request for an appeal was later rejected.
The son of Bo Yibo, a Communist revolutionary leader, Bo Xilai served as mayor of Dalian, governor of Liaoning, minister of commerce and secretary of the Communist Party's Chongqing branch. Heading into 2012, Bo was considered a strong candidate for the elite Politburo Standing Committee in the 18th National Congress. However, in early 2012, Bo's former police chief, Wang Lijun, went to the U.S. Consulate with information that implicated Bo's wife in the murder of Neil Heywood, a British businessman. Heywood was poisoned in a Chongqing hotel in Nov. 2011. By Aug. 2012, Gu Kailai, Bo's wife, was convicted and given a suspended death sentence, the equivalent of life in prison.