BEIJING - The wife of disgraced Chinese politician Bo Xilai would only agree to provide evidence against him at his trial if a deal had been reached to protect their son, two sources familiar with the situation told Reuters.
Bo, a charismatic senior leader of the Communist Party whose ambitions to join the country's apex of power were dashed last year, goes on trial on Thursday, charged with corruption, accepting bribes and abuse of power, in China's most divisive and dramatic case in almost four decades.
Chinese President Xi Jinping, who doubles as Communist Party and military chief, would be keen to put the trial behind him as he pushes major economic reforms ahead of a closed-door party plenum in September or October where he will need unstinted support from the party, sources close to the leadership have said.
A deal in which Bo can be swiftly convicted and sent to jail, sparing him a death penalty and with no repercussions for his son, could be in the interests of both sides, sources say.
Bo's wife, Gu Kailai, and his police chief, Wang Lijun, have both been jailed over a scandal stemming from the November 2011 murder of British businessman Neil Heywood in the southwestern city of Chongqing, where Bo was Communist Party boss.
Bo was sacked in March last year and has not been seen in public since. Their son, Bo Guagua, remains in the United States, where he is preparing for his first year at Columbia Law School in New York.