News / Asia

    Bo Xilai Supporters Protest on Eve of Trial

    • A black minivan (behind silver Mercedes minivan) believed to be carrying disgraced Chinese politician Bo Xilai arrives at the Jinan Intermediate People's Court ahead of the fifth day of Bo's trial in Jinan, Shandong province, August 26, 2013. 
    • A policeman guards the entrance of the Jinan Intermediate People's Court in Jinan, Shandong province, August 26, 2013. 
    • A minivan believed to be carrying disgraced Chinese politician Bo Xilai leaves the Jinan Intermediate People's Court after the end of the fifth day of Bo's trial in Jinan, Shandong province, August 26, 2013. 
    • A minivan (C) believed to be carrying disgraced Chinese politician Bo Xilai arrives at the Jinan Intermediate People's Court ahead of the fifth day of Bo's trial in Jinan, Shandong province, August 26, 2013. 
    • Bo Xilai leaves the Jinan Intermediate People's Court building in a vehicle in Jinan, Shandong province in this photo taken by Kyodo, August 23, 2013.
    • Gu Kailai is seen in a still image taken from an August 10, 2013 video provided by the Jinan Intermediate People's Court, recorded at an unknown location and screened on August 23, 2013 during Bo Xilai's trial.
    • In this photo released by the Jinan Intermediate People's Court, disgraced politician Bo Xila is flanked by police officers during his trial at the court in eastern China's Shandong province, August 22, 2013.
    • A TV screen shows a news report of disgraced politician Bo Xilai standing in the courtroom, flanked by police guards at Jinan Intermediate People's Court in eastern China's Shandong province, in Hong Kong, August 22, 2013.
    • A man wearing a t-shirt with a picture of former Chinese leader Mao Zedong holds a fan with the words "Bo Xilai" near the Jinan Intermediate People's Court in Jinan, August 22, 2013.
    • A supporter holds a placard during a rally behind a police barricade near the Jinan Intermediate People's Court, August 22, 2013. (Dongfang/VOA)
    • A woman protests outside the Jinan Intermediate People's Court in Jinan, eastern China's Shandong province, August 21, 2013.
    • Chinese police officers attempt to remove a woman protesting with the words "unjust" written on a banner outside the Jinan Intermediate People's Court in Jinan, August 21, 2013. (Dongfang/VOA)
    • Chinese police officers march out of the Jinan Intermediate People's Court in Jinan in eastern China's Shandong province, August 21, 2013.
    • Chinese police officers march out of the Jinan Intermediate People's Court in Jinan in eastern China's Shandong province, August 21, 2013.
    • Chinese police officers march out of the Jinan Intermediate People's Court in Jinan in eastern China's Shandong province, August 21, 2013.
    Bo Xilai Supporters Protest on Eve of Trial
    VOA News
    Supporters of former Chinese politician Bo Xilai held a small protest outside a courthouse in eastern China where his long-awaited trial begins Thursday.

    The protesters, which numbered only in the single digits, were watched closely by police outside the courthouse in Jinan City in Shandong Province. They held signs calling for a fair trial for Bo, who is being tried on charges of corruption, bribery and abuse of power.

    One of the men, who refused to be named, told reporters he views the entire case against Bo as illegitimate.

    "I think this trial is illegal and we don't recognize any verdict out of this trial, because it is illegal for them to arrest Bo Xilai, and it is not in line with the constitution. We don't accept any trial and verdict."

    Another protester, Bao Runpu from northern Hebei province, was more guarded about his opinion, saying Bo's case will be an important barometer of the fairness of China's judicial system.

    "Bo Xilai was a member of the Politburo, he was a high official. If his own case isn't carried out fairly, then there's nowhere to go for us average poor people from the lowest level of society. There will never be any hope, nor will we ever be able to get fair or just treatment."

    In a file picture taken on March 5, 2012, Chongqing mayor Bo Xilai (bottom C) attends the opening session of the National People's Congress (NPC) at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing.In a file picture taken on March 5, 2012, Chongqing mayor Bo Xilai (bottom C) attends the opening session of the National People's Congress (NPC) at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing.
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    In a file picture taken on March 5, 2012, Chongqing mayor Bo Xilai (bottom C) attends the opening session of the National People's Congress (NPC) at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing.
    In a file picture taken on March 5, 2012, Chongqing mayor Bo Xilai (bottom C) attends the opening session of the National People's Congress (NPC) at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing.
    Analysts have said it is virtually certain the 65-year-old will be found guilty. They said the verdict was likely decided beforehand by the top members of China's Communist Party.

    Before his downfall, the charismatic Bo attracted a wide following. As party boss of the huge metropolis of Chongqing, he launched a crackdown on organized crime and promoted a nostalgic revival of Maoist ideology and songs.

    But his governing style also gained him many enemies, both among the more reform-minded members of the Communist Party and among critics who said his crackdown on the mafia trampled civil rights.

    His downfall began last February, when his police chief Wang Lijun fled to the U.S. consulate in Chengdu, where he told American diplomats about Bo's alleged role in covering up the murder of a British businessman.

    Bo's wife, Gu Kailai, was later convicted of murdering the Briton over a failed financial deal. Wang, meanwhile, was convicted on charges including defection, abuse of power, and taking bribes.

    Bo, meanwhile, has not been seen publicly in 17 months. He was kicked out of the Communist Party in September, when state media accused him of corruption, abuse of power, bribe taking, and "improper" relations with a number of women.

    His trial is set to be the most closely watched in the country in decades.

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