Cai Yongmei, editor of the Hong Kong-based political magazine Kaifang, gives her appraisal of the political undercurrents surrounding the trial of fallen Chinese political star Bo Xilai for corruption and abuse of power, which began Thursday in the eastern city of Jinan. Bo denied some of the bribery charges against him, saying some of the evidence presented wasn't fit to bring to court:
The court was going through the motions; this was a performance. They would expect the judge to play along. My feeling is that the script they arranged in advance didn't work out.
From the government's point of view, this isn't ideal, but it won't cause them any major difficulties. All they have to do now is argue over a few details.
I think that Bo Xilai really has enormous self-confidence, so that asking him to admit his crimes in court like his wife and Wang Lijun did is something he can't tolerate.
One major factor in his downfall was the anti-crime campaigns, because he got rid of the entire police bureaucracy that was there under his predecessor and brought in his own people instead.
The authorities in Beijing couldn't tolerate that, because it's tantamount to a coup plot. Such things aren't tolerated in the [ruling Chinese] Communist Party bureaucratic system.
But why didn't they mention it [at the trial]? I think if they had, the shockwaves would have been too enormous, and the impact would have been huge.
Right now, their aim is still to maintain stability.
Reported by Yang Fan for RFA's Mandarin Service. Translated and written in English by Luisetta Mudie.