China: Bo Xilai Retracts Bribery Confession
Ousted Chinese politician Bo Xilai has insisted he was forced into confessing to a bribery charge in the country's biggest political scandal in decades.
He is on trial accused of abuse of power, taking more than $3m (£2.5m) in bribes and embezzlement.
Speaking in court in Jinan, Bo denied receiving payments from Tang Xiaolin, the general manager of an international development corporation in the north-eastern city of Dalian, where he once held key posts.
He had previously admitted to party investigators that he had accepted money.
"The matter of me taking money on three occasions, as Tang Xiaolin said, does not exist," Bo said.
"During the time I was being investigated by the Central Disciplinary Commission, I once admitted to this matter against my will ... However, at the time, I had absolutely no knowledge of the nature of the matter, my mind was a total blank.
"I hope the judge will reasonably and fairly judge, and judge this according to the laws of our country," Bo was quoted as saying in Twitter and Facebook postings released by the court.
Bo also challenged one major witness, businessman Xu Ming, who allegedly gave Bo and his family 20m yuan's (£2m) worth of properties.
He also dismissed his wife, Gu Kailai's earlier testimony which accused him of accepting bribery as "ridiculous".
Prosecutors have given new details of the allegations against Bo and his family, including accusations that Bo used both his wife, and his son, Bo Guagua, as intermediaries.
They also claim Bo instructed an employee to keep quiet about a payment of $800,000 to the Dalian authorities that was diverted into his personal account with the help of his wife.
Once the powerful party boss in the huge city of Chongqing, the charismatic Bo became the most senior leader to fall from power in years after it emerged last year his wife had killed British businessman Neil Heywood.
It was a huge embarrassment for the Chinese leadership which has been unusually open about the trial, publishing regular updates of the proceedings.
The charges against Bo also include abuse of power in covering up the murder.
The rare arrangement of publishing court proceedings via social media has attracted vast attention throughout China.
More than 300,000 people follow the court's official Weibo account and more than 100,000 users took part in discussions on the topic.
Some users called the trial "historic and unprecedented", others praised Weibo as the "best tool to beat the tigers", a phrase used by China's new president Xi Jinping when talking about tackling corruption in the country.