01/28/2013, 00.00
CHINA
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Guiyang, protesters in support of Bo Xilai: The Party envy you, we love you

A group of demonstrators gathered this morning in front of the court in the capital of Guizhou to support the disgraced former secretary of Chongqing. But his trial not held there and perhaps hasn’t even begun. The event, experts explain, "shows that the Maoists still exist in China."

Guiyang (AsiaNews) - A small group of people gathered this morning in front of the Intermediate People's Court of Guiyang to demonstrate in favor of the former communist secretary of Chongqing, Bo Xilai. According to some unconfirmed reports, in fact, his trial was to begin today in the capital of the southern province of Guizhou. A man and a woman, unidentified, unfurled a banner with the writing: "Secretary Bo, the corrupt and incompetent officials envy you, but the people you love."

Although very limited, the protest this morning is a sign of the popular support still enjoyed - by the deposed leader of Chongqing. The government has revoked his position in March 2012 and he was expelled from the Party the following September, after his wife was put on state of trial for the murder of a British businessman.

The " Bo case " was certainly the most important political event of the past year, given that he had been considered a strong candidate for the Standing Committee of the Politburo, only to fall out of favor because of the details that emerged during the trial against his wife Gu Kailai and police chief, Wang Lijun. Later, the woman was sentenced to a suspended death sentence, while Wang was sentenced to 15 years in prison. Bo's trial was supposed to start today, but some experts believe the most probable date will be next March, after the National People's Congress.

The former Secretary led a campaign known as "red revival", bringing back into fashion the old songs and slogans of Maoism, and for having crushed the mafia (and political opponents) with brutal methods. This approach drew criticism from the central leadership but also captured the support of the people. Yuan Qinhui, 63, resident of Chongqing, was present at the demonstration: "He wanted to reduce wage inequality. All the inhabitants of Chongqing support him."

Bo, 63, built his political fortunes on nostalgia for the Maoist period. During his wife's trial, however, fine details have emerged regarding kickbacks, violations of the law and sexual exploitation. However, the formal charges against him have not yet been submitted, and no one knows the date or place of his trial.

Willy Wo-Lap Lam, a professor of history at the Chinese University of Hong Kong and a great connoisseur of communist politics, said: "Despite Bo's ouster -- and horrendous scandals surrounding him and his wife -- there has always been an undercurrent in Chinese society that supports Mao-style egalitarianisms. Before his downfall, Bo masterfully exploited this Maoist nostalgia for his own political ends".

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