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Chinese Call For Openness As Bo Xilai Trial Resumes In East China

posted 22 Aug 2013, 04:25 by Sam Mbale   [ updated 22 Aug 2013, 04:26 ]

Chinese call for openness as Bo Xilai trial resumes after short break

JINAN CITY, SHANDONG PROVINCE, CHINA (AUGUST 22, 2013) (REUTERS) - The trial of fallen politician Bo Xilai resumed at a courthouse in east China at 2 p.m. (0600 GMT) after a short break on Thursday (August 22).

Police blocked entry to the courthouse and security lined roads leading to the courthouse.

Motorcades, believed to be carrying trial participants, were seen driving back to the Jinan Intermediate People's Court shortly before the trial's resumption.

The court said on its microblog feed that Bo, five of his family members, 19 journalists and 86 civilians attended the hearing.

The 64-year-old former Communist Party chief of the southwestern city of Chongqing has been charged with illegally taking almost 27 million yuan ($4.4 million), corruption and abuse of power and will almost certainly be found guilty.

The trial drew many curious local residents to areas near the court, although access was impossible for them due to tight security.

Many people said they were only able to make judgement based on bits and pieces of information they could collect from state media reports and on the internet.

A 45-year-resident who identified himself as Mr. Zhang believed Bo was a victim of a political plot.

''I think it is all power struggle, internal power game. As for his contributions and wrongdoing, I don't think he has contributed much. He was quite a leftist advocate. It may be good for China to put him away (in jail),'' he said.

Another resident, 66-year-old Li Jinan, called for more openness after reading speculations and comments on Bo's trial on the internet.

''As an ordinary citizen as myself, I also want to know the truth, to know what happened from the beginning to the end. However, it is a real problem for me to find out the truth. I wish they had televised the trial live. It is important for the ordinary people to know that it is a fair trial. Actually we need openness for everything, this is my opinion,'' said Li.

Bo was a rising star in China's leadership circles when his career was stopped short last year by the murder scandal involving Gu, who was convicted for the November 2011 murder of British businessman Neil Heywood, a business partner and family friend.

Bo's former police chief in ChongqingWang Lijun, has also been jailed for trying to cover up the case.

Bo could face a death sentence for his charges, though a suspended death sentence is more likely, which effectively means life imprisonment, or a 20-year term.

His guilt is an almost foregone conclusion given that prosecutors and courts come underCommunist Party control.