Bo Xilai case set to be China’s trial of the century
Son appeals for justice ahead of corruption trial
Former Chongqing party secretary Bo Xilai’s trial on corruption charges begins tomorrow
Bo Guagua, the son of purged former Communist leader Bo Xilai who goes on trial on Thursday, has called for justice for his father. He has also spoken of his fears for the health of his parents, both of whom are at the centre of China’s biggest political crisis in decades.
The trial in Jinan, capital of the eastern coastal province of Shandong, looks set to be China’s trial of the century.
Once the rising star of the Communist Party, Bo Xilai looks almost certain to be found guilty of corruption, accepting bribes and abuse of power.
Bo Guagua’s mother, Gu Kailai, and Bo Xilai’s former protege and police chief Wang Lijun were jailed last year over China’s biggest political scandal in years, after Ms Gu was convicted of poisoning British businessman Neil Heywood in November 2011.
Bo Guagua, who went to Harrow, then Oxford, then Harvard and is now reportedly planning to attend Columbia Law School, said he had been denied contact with his parents for 18 months.
“I can only surmise the conditions of their clandestine detention and the adversity they each endure in solitude,” he said in a statement carried in the New York Times.
There is speculation that Bo Xilai has co-operated with the investigators in the trial, as his wife Ms Gu reportedly did before him, to guarantee their son’s wellbeing. There have been reports that Ms Gu may testify against her husband on Thursday.
Bo Guagua said he hoped that in the trial his father was granted an opportunity to answer his critics and defend himself fairly.
“However, if my well-being has been bartered for my father’s acquiescence or my mother’s further co-operation, then the verdict will clearly carry no moral weight,” he wrote.
He described his mother as “silenced and defenceless” and said he was worried about her health.
“She has already overcome unimaginable tribulation after the sudden collapse of her physical health in 2006 and subsequent seclusion,” he said.
There were separate reports yesterday from lawyers close to the family of Neil Heywood, saying they were making some progress in efforts to seek compensation.
He Zhengsheng, a Beijing lawyer for the family, said talks with the attorneys representing Ms Gu had brought “initial results and some consensus”.
There were also denials that the family ever made a statement to the Wall Street Journal saying the opposite.
More details have emerged in the Global Times – a Beijing newspaper that is part of the People’s Daily group and linked to the Communist Party – of the charges Mr Bo will face.
The paper cited an anonymous source close to Mr Bo saying that the money he is accused of taking as bribes stands at 25 million yuan (€3 million). The allegations stretch back to the years Mr Bo was based in Dalian, between 1988 and 2000, when he rose from local propaganda chief to vice mayor then finally mayor.
According to a statement posted on its official website on Sunday afternoon, the court said the open trial would start at 8:30am on Thursday at its fifth courtroom.
There are several hundred seats in the court, but the chances of getting official access to China’s trial of the century look slim.