Monday, 22 October 2012

Still Defending Bo

An open letter written by leftists ardently support Bo Xilai
Former Chongqing party boss Bo Xilai's supporters have not given up their fight yet.

Today an open letter signed by more than 700 academics and former officials was published on a left-wing Chinese-language website called Red China.

In it, the signatories asked parliament not to expel Bo from the Communist Party of China, saying that the move was legally questionable and politically motivated.

By stripping Bo of his membership, he will lose his immunity to prosecution, resulting in formal charges against him.

"What is the reason provided for expelling Bo Xilai? Please investigate the facts and the evidence," the letter said. "Please announce to the people evidence that Bo Xilai will be able to defend himself in accordance with the law."

This group of leftists is small but vocal, though not many people on the mainland can access the Red China site, and neither was the open letter reported in Chinese state media.

Nevertheless, there are some prominent people who have signed the letter, including Li Chengrui, former director of the National Bureau of Statistics and is now a law professor at Peking University.

Meanwhile another signatory, Chengdu resident Li Longhua attached his name to the letter, telling BBC Chinese Service "because I want China's legal system to be fair. I believe that the way Bo Xilai's case has been dealt with has seriously violated China's own legal procedures. I do not consider myself to be a leftist or rightist. What i just want is for... the country to have more democracy and freedom. I have never supported Bo Xilai before."

It's interesting Li signed the letter in the hopes of having rule of law followed, but the ironic thing is that Bo didn't follow legal procedures himself when he launched his "strike black" campaign to break up triads in Chongqing.

He threw a lot of people in jail, and while some tried to get legal representation from Beijing, those lawyers were threatened for defending the alleged crime bosses.

So while Bo's supporters are trying to make a last-ditch plea for him, it seems for the most part his fate is pretty much sealed even though it appears highly politically motivated.

The public would have appreciated an open and transparent trial of not only Bo but his wife Gu Kailai and former police chief Wang Lijun, but it seems the government was too worried the verdicts would not turn out as planned and so the trials were not only rushed, but the scope was limited too.

If the government wants to continue to legitimize its leadership of the country, it must adhere to its rule of law and not manipulate verdicts to its own liking.

Otherwise the disillusionment is just going to fester.

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