During the recent Bo Xilai trial of the former Chongqing Party secretary, the public was deluged with a highly publicized courtroom drama, something highly unusual in China. The first whistleblower in the scandal, former Chongqing police chief Wang Lijun, came face to face with Bo in court, adding to the intensity of the proceedings.
Analysts who observed the trial said it was just Communist Party staging. Though such courtroom proceedings seemed serious, collusion was speculated between the court and the defendant. On the third day of Bo Xilai’s court trial, Bo’s questioning of Wang Lijun was reported on Weibo.
Foreign media described that the Q&A between Bo as the defendant and Wang as the witness was “very abnormal” court procedure. They pointed to how Bo was still behaving with the swagger of a senior Party official in court.
During the trial, even the incident of Bo Xilai slapping Wang Lijun’s face was described in great detail. Wang later explained that he was actually punched, not slapped. This detail was later hyped up in media reports.
Analysts commented that such trivial details served to distract public attention from Bo’s larger crimes. Political commentator Lan Shu said:
“This superficial performance does not testify to transparency in the CCP’s judicial system. This is because the darkest aspects of the case were never included in the judicial process from the beginning.
“Releasing all those minor court details is simply to display CCP rule as ‘fair,’ using that as an angle.”
Yuan Hongbing, a Chinese law expert said:
“Under the communist regime, there won’t be any real trial. Bo Xilai’s trial itself is also a political issue, and not purely a legal case.
“In addition, we can learn from this trial that the minds of Party leaders are currently extremely divided. On the Bo Xilai issue, they have yet to reach any consensus.”
Yuan Hongbing said that there is no real ability to defend oneself in the CCP’s legal system. Bo Xilai was able to defend himself in court only as a result of the intense power struggles between the two factions of Party leaders, adding:
“We need to see the CCP’s internal struggles from the correct perspective. This kind of struggle will greatly weaken the Party’s rule and speed up its collapse.”
Recently, the CCP internally issued:
“Document No.9” to officials. The document lists seven types of danger that it says need to be eliminated to protect the Party’s political power monopoly—freedom of the press was listed as part of “the first danger.”
Chief editor Wu Fan considered the broadcast of Bo’s trial on Weibo to be a result of “Document No.9.” Fan said:
“Journalists are not allowed to enter the court. You can’t see the live scenes. Reports are released one by one on Weibo, but they are already filtered. They won’t let you know all the information or what is really happening inside the court.”
Wu Fan believed that the way the CCP was handling Bo’s case was meant to distract the public’s attention from Bo’s serious political corruption. Instead, they focused on Bo’s smaller economic crimes.
They covered up huge embezzlements with smaller ones. If they could avoid mentioning Bo’s larger crimes, then the Communist Party hoped to avoid larger public resentment directed toward the CCP.
China expert Zhao Yuanming further commented that to maintain the so-called stability of its governance, the CCP’s current leaders covered up Bo’s serious crimes.
These included crimes committed by Bo in Chongqing during the “Red Culture Movement” and the “Chongqing Gang Trials,” the plotting of a coup to overthrow Xi Jinping and Hu Jintao, and the crimes of large-scale organ harvesting, mainly from practitioners of Falun Gong.
If the CCP had exposed all of Bo Xilai’s crimes during the recent trial, they would have implicated themselves in the corruption that characterizes the system as a whole.
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