Harsh punishment not likely for Bo Xilai and ‘red aristocracy’ members targeted by anti-graft campaign

Special to WorldTribune.com

By Willy Lam, East-Asia-Intel.com

While the official Chinese media have claimed that the trial of former Politburo member Bo Xilai testifies to the Xi Jinping leadership’s commitment to fighting graft, it is unlikely that “tigers” among venal cadres will be nabbed any time soon.

Bo Xilai, center, in court in eastern China's Shandong province.   /Jinan Intermediate People's Court / AP
Bo Xilai, center, in court in eastern China’s Shandong province.  /Jinan Intermediate People’s Court/AP

There is a well-known “mutual protection clause” within the top echelons of the Chinese Communist Party, that serving and former Politburo members will get at most 20 years in jail irrespective of whatever felonies they may have committed.

Since the end of the Cultural Revolution in 1976, two former Politburo members have been incriminated.

Former Beijing party secretary Chen Xitong received a 16-year jail term – and former Shanghai party boss Chen Liangyu an 18-year sentence – for alleged corruption and abuse of power.

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