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China uses Bo case as triumph against corruption

BEIJING -- China is using the case of ousted politician Bo Xilai as a triumphant example of the Communist Party's effort to rein in rampant corruption that threatens its hold on power.

The party's top official for discipline, He Guoqiang, gave a speech Monday in which he cited the investigation into Bo as one of the recent successes of the party's efforts to uncover "major disciplinary violations."

Bo was one of China's best known politicians until he fell from grace earlier this year when a close aide disclosed that Bo's wife had murdered a British businessman. Bo was dismissed as party chief of the megacity of Chongqing and his wife was given a suspended death sentence after confessing to the murder.

In a long-awaited move, the party expelled Bo on Sept. 28 and accused him of charges ranging from corruption to illicit sexual affairs as it tried to sweep away a scandal that had threatened to overshadow an upcoming leadership transition.

Corruption is a pervasive problem throughout the Chinese bureaucracy, with huge amounts of money involved, and the Communist Party has said repeatedly that it threatens its legitimacy.

"We should keep a strong momentum in our fight against corruption," He told a meeting of the Anti-Corruption Coordination Team of the party's Central Committee. "The corrupt elements, no matter who they are, will be resolutely dealt with without mercy. Never let them get away from the punishment of party discipline and state laws."

He, head of the party's Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, said authorities have punished more than 660,000 officials for disciplinary violations in the past five years.

Officials have hastened to distance the Communist Party from Bo. After the announcement of Bo's expulsion, the Chongqing municipal committee held a meeting led by current party chief Zhang Dejiang to endorse the party's decision. City officials vowed to "prevent the individual from being placed above the system."

The charges against Bo span more than a decade and include allegations that he took bribes, abused his power and had improper relationships with several women.