Bo’s Influence “Banished” as Trial Rumors Swirl

Amid conflicting reports about the date of Bo Xilai’s trial, China’s Global Times reported on Monday that the proceedings would not start that day in Guiyang, as previously rumored. According to “a source close to the country’s top judicial body”, the start date will be announced well in advance. Due to the complexity of the case, it claimed, the trial may last up to ten days, and is unlikely to begin until after the Two Sessions of the National People’s Congress and Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference in March. On Saturday, meanwhile, the mayor of Chongqing proclaimed the “banishment” of Bo’s influence from his former power base. From Ben Blanchard at Reuters: Speaking at the opening session of the city’s largely rubber stamp legislature, Chongqing mayor Huang Qifan, who had served with Bo when Bo was the city’s party boss, described the past year’s events as “extraordinary”. “Against such an exceptional backdrop and complex circumstances, we resolutely followed the decisions of the party … and worked hard to banish the serious impact of the Bo Xilai and Wang Lijun cases,” Huang said, according to a transcript of his speech carried by Chinese news websites. […] “We must strictly define authority in accordance with the law and … never allow any group or individual to have special rights which exceed the constitution or the law,” Huang said. Part of the exorcism has involved the rehabilitation of netizens, lawyers, policemen and others wrongly prosecuted for crossing Bo and Wang, his former police chief. Radio Free Asia reported on Friday, for example, that journalist Gao Yingpiao had been released early from a three year prison term thought to be linked to a series of critical blog posts. On the other hand, The New York Times’ Edward Wong reported that the gang behind last ...
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