Chongqing: Bo Xilai case under procedure

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Sun Zhengcai, Party chief of Chongqing, during a panel discussion of the Chongqing delegation on Wednesday. []

Southwest China's Chongqing Municipality said Wednesday that the high-profile Bo Xilai case is still under investigation and the city is "resolute" in handling a recent sex scandal involving a number of mid-ranking officials.

"Bo Xilai's case now is under judiciary procedures, and it is still under investigation according to laws, " Sun Zhengcai said, meeting international reporters for the first time since he was appointed Party chief of the sprawling city.

The city's former Party chief, Bo Xilai, was sacked last March for serious discipline violations. Investigations also revealed that he bore responsibility in a murder case involving his wife.

Vice-Premier Zhang Dejiang, who is now one of the country's seven-member top leadership, ran the city in the interim.

Sun took over the post from Zhang last November and became the youngest of the 25 newly elected members of the Political Bureau of the 18th CPC Central Committee. Yet the young political star still has to deal with the aftermath of those scandals.

The 61-member delegation of Chongqing-based national legislators led by Sun attracted around 170 members of the media from both home and abroad during the discussion, as the city has swirled in a slew of scandals involving decadence of its former leader and high-ranking officials.

Less than four months since he was appointed head of Chongqing, Sun said he visited 25 districts and counties under the jurisdiction of the municipality, having talks with local leaders, and has found that Chongqing "has bright prospects" but still remains an underdeveloped region.

In the year since the Bo Xilai scandal shocked the city, Chongqing's economy has grown 13.6 percent, making it one of the fastest growing regions on the mainland. It also maintains quickly growing foreign trade despite the nation's overall foreign trade difficulties.

Yet the fact that its foreign direct investment in 2012 saw no growth - compared with 57 percent annual growth since 2007 - also reflects the impact of the Bo Xilai scandal.

Sun Zhengcai also stressed that Chongqing is now staying "low-profile and pragmatic", maintaining its political and social stability as well as economic growth.

Sun made the remarks during a panel discussion on the sidelines of the annual national legislative session.

As for the latest case involving some ten Chongqing officials who have been removed from their posts after a whistle-blower revealed a sex tape, Sun, gigantic in stature but soft in tone with a strong hometown accent, said Chongqing takes a clear-cut attitude and is taking resolute measures.

"We have conducted an in-depth investigation and will handle (the case) in line with the law," Sun said.

Chongqing authorities said that a criminal group had tried to bait dozens of officials since 2008 by tempting them with sexual favors.

Media reports said the officials are still under investigation for other possible violations.

The per capita income of its residents is still lower than the national average, and Sun said people in Chongqing want to improve their standard of living.

Chongqing Mayor Huang Qifan, who also attended the Wednesday panel discussion, said Chongqing still boasts the advantages of having enough labor resources and advantages brought by reforming policies to drive its economy.

Huang said earlier that the Bo and Wang Lijun cases stalled investment, and caused foreign and domestic investors to hesitate about putting their money into the city earlier in the year.

Huang also said at the panel discussion that Chongqing aims to lift the frequency of its trains on the more than 11,000-km Chongqing-Xinjiang-Europe International Railway, a logistics route between Asia and Europe honored as "the modern silk road".

Operating since 2011, the railway starts in Chongqing, travels through Russia, Belarus and Poland before arriving in Duisburg, Germany.

The whole journey takes an average of 16 days, and all customs and tariff procedures have been simplified to make international trade more convenient.

While the train operated only once a month in 2011, it will now run every day, said Huang.

The number of departures per day is expected to go up to three by 2015, said Huang, adding that he also hopes the train can transport more commodities on its way back from Europe.

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