Bo Xilai trial a test of China’s ‘rule of law,’ judicial abilities

By David Kan Ting ,Special to the China post

By David Kan Ting — The trial of Bo Xilai, the disgraced former member of the Politburo of the Chinese Communist Party, has often been described in the media as “the trial of the century,” because it is attracting world attention and making international headlines. But in a larger sense, the event, taking place this week in Jinan, capital of Shandong province, could also be seen as a trial of China’s “rule of law” and its judicial independence.

The world is watching with bated breath at how China today is different from the era of lawlessness under Mao Zedong. After all, China’s state-controlled media have gone to great lengths trying to convince the people that the trial is a sign of progress toward the establishment of “rule of law.”

There is no denying that progress has been indeed made toward that direction. On the eve of the trial, a news report quoted one Bo family associate as saying, “a rehearsal of the trial was held on Tuesday, with Bo in attendance.” So, if the report was true, the trial would be carefully choreographed like a show. Also, rumors are rife that the verdict has, according to news media, already been written.

Well, it looks like a travesty of justice, but even that represents a progress of sorts, thanks to the Internet that keeps people connected and informed. On Monday, Bo’s 25-year-old son Bo Guagua, who will attend Columbia University Law School next month, wrote a statement to the New York Times that he hoped his father would be “granted the opportunity to answer his critics and defend himself without constraints of any kind.” If the trial court heeds the passionate plea, and allows the defendant to make his case, this would be a real and significant sign of progress toward the establishment of “rule of law.”