China wraps up key meeting with Bo Xilai expulsion
By Sui-Lee Wee
BEIJING (Reuters) - Chinese leaders ended a key closed-door conclave on Sunday with a decision to formally expel disgraced politician Bo Xilai from the Communist Party, in a meeting which also promoted two senior military men and approved the party constitution's amendment.
The secretive four-day meeting of 365 senior party officials ratified an earlier decision to expel Bo, former Chongqing party boss, as well as Liu Zhijun, one-time railway minister, sacked last year for "serious disciplinary violations", state news agency Xinhua said.
Bo and Liu can now be expected to face criminal charges and a trial.
The party plenum comes just days before the opening of a congress in Beijing on November 8 that will usher in a generational leadership change, which has been overshadowed by a scandal with Bo, who had once been a contender for top office himself.
The government accused Bo in September of corruption and of bending the law to hush up his wife's murder of a British businessman. While she has since been jailed, Bo has yet to be formally charged.
Liu was fired early last year over corruption charges. His reputation was further marred after a train crash in China a few months later killed 40 people. Although the accident happened after Liu's dismissal, the government said he was primarily responsible as safety standards at the rail ministry had slipped under his watch.
Xinhua provided no other details of either case, in a report full of turgid Communist terminology designed to curtain-raise the congress, at which President Hu Jintao will hand over his party duties to anointed successor Xi Jinping.
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