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China

China's Communist Party expels Bo Xilai

The once rising star in China's Communist Party has officially been permanently ousted from its ranks. The decision comes at the end of a major four-day conference in Beijing in the lead- up to a transition of power.

The Central Committee of China's Communist Party delivered its decision at the end of a four-day conference in Beijing on Sunday, according to the official Xinhua news agency.

The Chinese media outlet said that the committee had "endorsed a decision by the Political Bureau…to expel Bo Xilai." Initial reports did not expound on the decision-making process, nor the attitude toward Bo's dismissal.

The scandal surrounding the former regional party chief - who had once been viewed as a rising political star in China - had reportedly caused problems for the party's leadership.  

Bo's expulsion comes several days before the Communist Party meets for a power handover, which takes place once every ten years.

The central committee also expelled the former railways minister, Liu Zhijun, for corruption on Sunday and appointed two new central committee members.

Wife convicted of murder

Chinese leaders' have gradually been pushing Bo out of the party over the course of the year as details of a murder scandal involving his wife came to light.

Bo was dismissed from his post as Communist Party Chief in the city of Chongqing in March after his wife, Gu Kailai, was named a suspect in a murder case. By late summer, a Chinese court handed down a suspended death sentence to Gu for fatally poisoning British businessman, Neil Heywood. She said he had threatened her son. Chongqing's police chief, Wang Lijun, who was involved in the cover up, subsequently received a prison sentence.

Although suspected of covering up the scandal, Bo had not been subjected to charges during his wife's trial. However, by late October, the Communist Party expelled Bo from parliament, also putting an end to his legal immunity.

kms/slk (AFP, Reuters)