World News Brief, Tuesday September 25

Police chief in Bo Xilai scandal sentenced; Japan sends diplomat to China over islands dispute; Kazakhstan's PM resigns after five years in power; Sudan and South Sudan meet; and more

Top of the Agenda: China Sentences Police Chief in Bo Xilai Scandal to Prison

A Chinese court convicted Wang Lijun, a former police chief, of defection, abuse of power, taking bribes, and twisting the law to his own advantage, while sentencing him to fifteen years in prison (NYT), according to China's state news agency Xinhua. Wang unleashed a political scandal when he fled to the U.S. Consulate in Chengdu last February, claiming that the wife of Communist Party leader Bo Xilai had murdered British businessman Neil Heywood. Bo's wife, Gu Kailai, was convicted of murder last month and sentenced to death with a two-year suspension. Meanwhile, Bo, who was removed from his post in March, has yet to be tried.


"Wang's revelations have roiled China during a sensitive period of political transition. The country's top leaders--President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao--are expected to begin the process of stepping down later this fall. Before the scandal erupted some analysts said Bo was a likely candidate for the Politburo Standing Committee, the country's top decision-making body, when it is reconfigured at the upcoming 18th Party Congress," writes TIME's Austin Ramzy.

"Observers believe the Wang Lijun verdict now paves the way for a final decision on Bo Xilai's future, which may at least temporarily put an end to infighting on the issue--and allow the party's once-in-a-decade leadership handover to proceed this autumn as planned. So far the party has yet to even announce the date for the staging of its five-yearly congress, at which Vice President Xi Jinping is expected to succeed Hu Jintao as Communist Party secretary general," writes Duncan Hewitt for Newsweek.



Japan Sends Diplomat to China Over Islands Dispute

Japan is sending Vice Foreign Minister Chikao Kawai to China for talks (BBC) amid an escalating row over disputed islands in the East China Sea, following China's recent deployment of marine surveillance ships near the Japanese-controlled islands.

Escalating friction between Japan and China in the East China Sea is becoming more difficult to contain, fed by political opportunism in both countries, says CFR's Sheila Smith in this CFR Expert Brief.



Kazakhstan's PM resigns

Sudan and South Sudan meet


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