I don't care about the sentencing of Bo [Xilai]. I don't care whether Bo confessed to his crimes or not, nor whether the sentence handed down by the court was light or heavy...
My concern is that the public prosecutor represented the state in bringing the charges.
I noticed that the charges of corruption against Bo Xilai were limited to 25 million yuan (U.S. $4.08 million) in bribes during his time in Dalian. This means that the prosecutor, on behalf of the state, decided that Bo Xilai could be washed clean of [any charges] during his time as minister of commerce, as Chongqing Party secretary, and as a member of the Politburo of the [ruling] Chinese Communist Party, and that any information circulating to the contrary is nothing but malicious rumors and attacks on Bo Xilai for which the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection was unable to find substantiating evidence. Whether or not this is in fact true, I cannot know.
I noticed that there was no mention of the indiscriminate murder and arrests of [Bo's] enemies, nor of his confiscation of their property during the "strike black" [anti-crime] campaigns [in Chongqing]. This means that the prosecution, on behalf of the state, considered that such "strike black" campaigns should be endorsed, and even extended and continued at a national level. So, at the very least, this was considered to be legal, and not a crime.
I also noticed that there was no mention on the charge sheet of Bo Xilai's commandeering of several dozen police cars and armed police units to surround a foreign consulate building [after his then police chief Wang Lijun fled there on Feb. 6, 2012]. This means that the prosecutor, on behalf of the state, decided either that there was no evidence to substantiate the claim that Bo mobilized dozens of police cars and armed police units to surround a foreign consulate, and that this was purely a rumor and a malicious attack on Bo Xilai, meaning that a full-on campaign against rumors must be launched to bring [rumor-mongers] to justice, or that Bo's mobilizing of dozens of police cars and armed police units to surround a foreign consulate was legal, and that any other Politburo member or municipal Party secretary has the legitimate right to do the same. The state extended its full recognition and protection, and no charge was brought, nor legal responsibility pursued.
I am not concerned with the trial of Bo Xilai, because this case has nothing to do with opposing corruption. As the Bo case was progressing, a number of citizens were detained across the country for calling on officials, in particular, China's leaders, to publicize details of their assets and those of their families. These were staunch supporters of the anti-corruption campaign. If you are going after the tigers and flies, while at the same time concocting various pretexts to detain the supporters of the anti-corruption movement, then you have a case of dissociative identity disorder, and people with dissociative identity disorder shouldn't lead the country. Therefore, I believe that the motivation for Bo Xilai's trial and sentencing had nothing to do with the fight against corruption.
And I don't care about the Bo Xilai trial because it has nothing to do with the right path [expressed by President Xi Jinping's remark that] "the life and the authority of the Constitution lie in its implementation." Around the time of the trial of Bo Xilai, the authorities detained Mr. Xu Zhiyong and Mr. Wang Gongquan. They were both advocates of the oversight of government power by citizens. Arresting them was a red flag that would be hard to mistake, warning us that the government was eating its own words, and, in flagrant violation of [Xi's] promise to "put power in a cage." Instead, they were getting ready to take the evil road, and put citizens' freedom of expression into a cage.
Therefore, it is my opinion that the trial of Bo Xilai will have little positive effect on the protection of either the life or the authority of the Constitution.
As for whether it will have a negative effect, I can't say for sure yet, so I don't know.
Translated by Luisetta Mudie.
Bao Tong, political aide to the late ousted premier Zhao Ziyang, is currently under house arrest at his home in Beijing.