09/23/2013, 00.00
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Bo Xilai gets life imprisonment for corruption. A 5 star prison awaits him

The former leader of Chongqing greeted the verdict with shouts of "unfair " . His trial , which is indicated by the Party as " example of anti- corruption," ended with the heaviest punishment ever imposed in a top communist leader . He will serve the sentence in Qincheng prison: comfortable and spacious cells, a first-class chef , pavilions and manicured lawns .

Jinan ( AsiaNews) - The Intermediate People's Court has sentenced Shandong Bo Xilai, former powerful leader of the Party of Chongqing to life imprisonment. The politician greeted the verdict screaming "unfair, unjust" but he does have the right to appeal . In the case of imprisonment, however, his detention will be in a prison that "looks like a five star hotel". His is the heaviest sentence imposed on a member - in office or deposed - of the Politburo from the time of the widow of Mao Zedong , who was sentenced to death in 1981 (the sentence was later commuted to life imprisonment) .

The judge announcing the sentence, pointed out that Bo "has harmed national interests and those of the people using his position incorrectly to obtain bribes totaling 20 million yuan [approximately 2.7 million euro ] " . In addition, the court rejected the Bo's claims that investigators tortured him to get a confession. Bo fell out of favor last year due to a scandal - according to many orchestrated by his political opponents - which involved his right arm man and his wife, both in turn condemned for the murder of British businessman Neil Heywood .

The trial has garnered major attention in China and worldwide. The Communist Party, under the leadership of Xi Jinping, has used it as an example of its commitment against corruption in national leadership , however , the government committed against bribery also arrested activists and dissidents (Xu Zhiyong above all) asking public officials to disclose their economic and commercial interests . According to the great analyst Willy Lam, the trail against Bo is a farce that highlights the "thirst for power" of the President Xi .

After hearing the sentence, the former secretary of Chongqing (64 years old) was taken away by force by the court guards. As he was being dragged away he shouted : "The decision is not based on the facts , the court was unfair and did not give me a way to defend myself ." According to criminal law, his sentence to life imprisonment will be commuted in a matter of 2 years to a milder sentence: 15 to 20 years in prison. In any case, Bo will have no way to return to the political scene in time for the Communist Congress in 2022 , when Xi Jinping will retire .

His fate, however, does not seem to be too cruel. He will serve his sentence in Qincheng prison , in the hills north of Beijing, where all the disgraced Communist leaders are interred. They included the prominent dissident Bao Tong, secretary and friend of Zhao Ziyang , who remembers her 7 years in prison in the same place : "It looks like a five-star hotel . Each cell is large and comfortable, with a soft bed, a sofa, a work desk and a private bathroom". Dai Qing, daughter of a former commander of People's Liberation Army , said: "When I first saw the cell I was pleasantly surprised ."

Prisoners of Qincheng can choose their own clothes, drink milk in the morning and eat from a selection of meals that includes soups and meat. Some of the prison cooks worked in prestigious hotels in the capital. In addition, the prison was renovated just last year: a wall was removed to make room for pavilions, trees and manicured lawns. The average Chinese prison, according to those who have come out, instead resembles a hell of dirt, overcrowding and violence.


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