Bo Xilai trial set for August, charges of corruption and above all, of defying Beijing
by Wang Zhicheng
Xinhua states: "He threatened the central power." Bo is accused of having confiscated more than 20 million yuan. Silence on his responsibility in covering up the murder of British citizen Heywood, poisoned by Bo’s wife, Gu Kailai. The trial set for mid-August in Jinan (Shandong). But the judges have "disappeared" and the defense lawyers are not allowed to meet with their client.

Beijing (AsiaNews) - The former Party chief of Chongqing, the once powerful Bo Xilai, has been officially charged with corruption and abuse of power. It is expected that the trial will be held in mid-August in Jinan, capital of Shandong, where investigations against him were first launched.

According to Xinhua - citing the charge sheet - Bo "embezzled an extremely large amount of public funds and abused his powers of office, causing heavy losses to the interests of the nation and the people in an extremely serious way".

Unofficial reports say that Bo accepted bribes of up to 20 million yuan (about € 2 million), pocketing more than 5 million yuan and exercised endless abuse.

A very curious fact: the indictment makes no mention of his responsibilities in covering up the murder of Neil Heywood, a British businessman poisoned by Bo Xilai's wife who was sentenced last August. Another "curious" fact is that since last year, since he was discharged from the Politburo and expelled from the Party in April this year, Bo disappeared in police custody. Despite having guaranteed a "fair trial", the authorities have held him incommunicado until now and have not even allowed him to meet his two defense lawyers. The judges set to preside at the trial have "disappeared" from Jinan: most likely are being instructed by the Party on how to conduct the trial and sentencing.

Analysts explain that all the caution and secrecy shrouding the case are due to the fact that in this trial is likely to see the Party "on trial itself" and the whole generation of "princelings" - the children of the great Party leaders - who like Bo, have enriched themselves on the backs of the population, abusing influences and power.

In addition, Bo Xilai is still much loved in Chongqing, where he is remembered for his campaign against the local mafia and his housing programs, as well as a populist revival of Maoism.

Having been a member of the Politburo - with hopes of becoming even Party General Secretary - Bo is the highest grade personality to be tried in recent years. Before him, in 2008, Chen Liangyu, secretary of the Party in Shanghai, was tried for having pocketed millions of yuan and manipulated sums amounting to several billion Euros.

A commentary published today in the Xinhua explains the reason for the fall from grace of the son of Bo Yibo: he had become too powerful. "China's historical experience - the article explains - has shown over and over again that the nation's long-term stability can only be secured by protecting the authority of the central leadership."

Challenging the central power is the real crime, not corruption, that is widespread among all members of the Party.