China's most closely watched trial in decades began Thursday, as deposed politician Bo Xilai appeared in court to face charges of corruption, bribery and abuse of power.
The official Xinhua news agency says Bo told the court that he hopes the trial can be held "in a reasonable and fair manner and follow the legal proceedings of our country."
Government-run broadcaster CCTV reported the trial in Jinan, the capital of eastern Shandong Province, will last two days and that a verdict is expected in early September.
Outside the court, police blocked off streets with large plastic barriers. Nearby, a few Bo supporters who held a protest were quickly hustled away by police for a second straight day.
The trial is not televised and foreign media were kept out of the hearing.
Official government microblogs provided a running account of the proceedings, as prosecutors laid out the charges. The Jinan Intermediate Court mentioned several cases in which Bo was alleged to have taken millions of dollars in bribes during his previous political posts.
Analysts say Bo will almost certainly be found guilty. Kerry Brown, who heads the University of Sydney's China Studies Center, tells VOA the outcome has already been decided by the top members of China's Communist Party.
"This is not a trial that we can foresee Mr. Bo walking free from this court in Jinan. It's just not going to happen. I think we all know that this has been predetermined."
Bo is a former member of the Communist Party's 25-member Politburo and ex-party chief of the southwest megacity, Chongqing. Before his downfall, he was thought to be a top contender for the elite Politburo Standing Committee at a leadership transition last year.
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 in a failed financial deal. Wang, meanwhile, was convicted on charges including defection, abuse of power and taking bribes.