Friday, 22 February 2013

Finally, A Bo Sighting

We finally have an update of disgraced former Chongqing Party chief Bo Xilai, almost a year after the fiasco of his police chief fleeing to the United States' embassy in Chengdu.

According to a Reuters report, Bo ix refusing to cooperate with a government investigation and has staged hunger strikes in protest. At one point he was even treated in hospital.

Bo is accused of corruption, abuse of power, murder and having relations with several women. However the government still has not set up a time frame for when Bo will be put on trial let alone formally charged him.

The Reuters story says two sources close to the Bo family believe the trial would not be held until after the annual "liang hui" or the National People's Congress and Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference next month because he is not physically fit.

"He was on hunger strike twice and force fed," said one source. It was not clear how long the hunger strike lasted.

"He was not tortured, but fell ill and was taken to a hospital in Beijing for treatment," the source said.

The second source confirmed Bo was on a hunger strike and added he had refused to shave to protest what he believed was unfair treatment.

"His beard is long, chest-length," the second source said. "He refused to cooperate. He wouldn't answer questions and slammed his fist on the table and he told them they were not qualified to question him and to go away."

Bo's alleged transgressions are the most sensational since the fall of the Gang of Four after Mao Zedong's death in 1976. It seems the current government is unsure of how to deal with such a case and keen to avoid eclipsing Xi Jinping's ascent to presidency.

However the government's inaction in setting up a time frame and following rule of law in formally charging Bo has harmed the authorities' credibility, says Bao Tong, who is currently under house arrest over the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests.

"It's not normal, too much time has passed," he said, referring to the lack of information about the case.

If the government really was keen on showing the world it followed rule of law, then it would have followed procedure to the letter.

Instead Bo has been held in limbo and he is probably refusing to cooperate because he knows what they are doing (or in this case not doing) is illegal.

While no foreign government can really step in and demand proper legal treatment of Bo, this latest story reveals the maverick we all know well -- the man who won't go down without a fight.

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