Chinese politician Bo Xilai has been expelled from the Communist Party of China and will face charges, according to state media.
Bo is accused of some involvement in the murder of British businessman Neil Heywood, of taking "massive bribes," and of having affairs and maintaining "improper sexual relationships with a number of women," among other things, state news agency Xinhua said Friday.
A former Communist Party leader in the city of Chongqing, Bo was once seen as a rising star in the party. But he has since fallen from power in an uncommonly public scandal that has rocked the secretive world of Chinese politics.
In March, Bo was sacked as Chongqing party boss following a scandal that saw his former chief of police Wang Lijun seek refuge at a US consulate.
Bo's wife, Gu Kailai, was convicted last month of killing Heywood, and received a suspended death sentence.
Benjamin Carlson, GlobalPost's correspondent in Hong Kong, noted the timing of the announcement about Bo, with the news released on the eve of a major national holiday.
"All of China is heading into a long vacation now for the Mid-Autumn Festival, and releasing the news late Friday evening suggests that, as typically happens in the US, Beijing is trying to bury the news," Carlson said.
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Xinhua said Bo was expelled from the party and public office based on a decision taken at a meeting of the CPC Central Committee's political bureau on Friday.
"The meeting also decided to transfer Bo's suspected law violations and relevant clues to judicial organs," the state news agency said.
The announcement came at the same time as news of a November 8 start date for the Communist Party's five-yearly national congress, a critical event in China's leadership transition, with Xi Jinping expected to replace current Chinese President Hu Jintao.
The dates for the congress — now set to start two days after the US election — were overdue: dates are typically announced in August, with the congress held in mid-October.
"Nobody knows for sure what this means, but it could imply that details of the once-a-decade power transition going on behind the scenes are taking longer to iron out than usual," Carlson said.
Here are the full allegations about Bo from the Xinhua story:
Investigations found that Bo seriously violated the Party disciplines while heading the city of Dalian, Liaoning Province and the Ministry of Commerce as well as serving as a member of the CPC Central Committee Political Bureau and party chief of Chongqing Municipality.
Bo abused his power, made severe mistakes and bore major responsibility in the Wang Lijun incident and the intentional homicide case of [Gu] Kailai.
He took advantage of his office to seek profits for others and received huge bribes personally and through his family.
His position was also abused by his wife [Gu] Kailai to seek profits for others and his family thereby accepted a huge amount of money and property from others.
Bo had affairs and maintained improper sexual relationships with a number of women.
He was also found to have violated organizational and personnel disciplines and made wrong decisions in personnel promotion, which led to serious consequences.
The investigation also found clues to his suspected involvement in other crimes.
Bo's behaviors have brought serious consequences, badly undermined the reputation of the Party and the country, created very negative impact at home and abroad and significantly damaged the cause of the Party and people.
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Benjamin Carlson contributed reporting from Hong Kong.