Another ousted China party chief challenges case against him

BEIJING, May 28: The former Communist Party chief of Beijing who was at the heart of one of China’s biggest political scandals before this year’s upheaval over Bo Xilai has challenged charges that brought him prison and disgrace in a book likely to stir controversy.
Chen Xitong was dismissed as Communist Party secretary of
Beijing in 1995 and later jailed on corruption charges, which
many observers at the time saw as resulting from a power struggle pitting him against then President Jiang Zemin.
Chen was also mayor of Beijing during the student-led protests that filled the Chinese capital in 1989, culminating in the quelling on June 4 of the demonstrators who had made
Tiananmen Square their base.
Now, days before the 23rd anniversary of the Tiananmen crackdown, Chen has denied the corruption charges and any prominent role in 1989, in a book likely to evoke the scandal
over Bo, the fallen party boss of the municipality of Chongqing.
Before his downfall in March, Bo called rumoured accusations swirling around his family a “pile of nonsense” concocted by foes.
Chen gives a similar defence in a Chinese-language book of interviews to be published soon in Hong Kong. Reuters obtained an advance copy.
“This was the worst miscarriage of justice involving a high-level leader since the Cultural Revolution, or since 1989 – it was an absurd miscarriage of justice,” Chen says of the corruption and abuse of power charges that brought him a 16-year jail term in 1998. Chen won medical parole in 2004.
Although Chen’s assertions about 1989 and his own downfall appear likely to draw dispute, they suggest how, as with Bo, charges against ousted Chinese leaders are often near impossible to separate from broader political contention.


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