Bo Xilai Denies Bribery In Trial, Baidu Searches Reveal Organ Harvesting
The power struggle continues within the Chinese Communist Party, even as former Chinese official Bo Xilai”s long awaited trial begins today in Jinan city, Shandong Province.
Bo”s fall from grace is China”s most high profile political scandal since the fall of the Gang of Four at the end of the Cultural Revolution. Bo was charged with “bribery, corruption, and abuse of power.” Of course, in reality, his crimes include much more than that, and you can check out this video to find out exactly what Bo was up to during his time as an official.
During the trial, Bo did not deny charges of embezzling 5 million yuan from a government project, or abuse of power in the handling of his wife Gu Kailai”s murder case and the defection of Wang Lijun, former police chief of Chongqing and Bo”s right hand man. However, Bo passionately defended himself against bribery charges, saying he was framed.
Bo was charged with taking a combined 21.8 million yuan, or 3.56 million dollars in bribes from Xu Ming, the president of Dalian Shide Group, a company that specializes in building materials, and Tang Xiaolin, the president of Hong Kong-based export company Dalian International Development Ltd. According to the court, part of the bribery went to Bo”s wife and son. Xu reportedly helped Gu Kailai buy a villa in France. Bo guagua and Gu Kailai were both absent from the trial.
Xu appeared in court to testify, but Bo said “This is a false accusation. If Xuming helped my son Bo Guagua financially, Gu Kailai and Bo Guagua have never mentioned this to me. I know nothing about the property in Nice, France. This entire process is fabricated. I”ve never admitted to the twenty something million [from Xu] from the very beginning.”
Bo also called Tang, whose whereabouts are unknown, “a mad dog” who is framing him for his own interests. Though he admitted to taking the money from Tang, Bo says that he was tricked and that he was under the impression that the transaction was all official business.
More unexpectedly, Bo”s wife provided written evidence to the court that stated she had seen a large amount of cash in the Bo”s residence”s safes that matched the amount given to Bo by Tang. Bo dismissed his wife”s testimony as “laughable” and “ridiculous.”
Bo previously admitted to taking bribes from both Xu and Tang when he was investigated by the Central Discipline Inspection Commission. However, he now claims that he only did so under pressure and that his mind was a blank.
Bo”s outburst in court was surprising to the people who expected the trial to move quickly to sentencing, since the results are likely pre-arranged through a negotiation between Bo and the party. Others say that his performance is just part of the show to make the party look like it”s putting on a fair trial.
Since the trial date was announced, many analysts have said that it is likely be a show trial that serves more as a public announcement. The proceedings of the trial is updated live on Sina Weibo. Given the unprecedented transparency that the trial has been handled with, it is likely that everything the public sees is carefully staged.
As in this mentioned video, Bo”s most heinous crimes that were unmentioned include organ harvesting and corpse peddling. According to the Epoch Times, when Bo was first the mayor of Dalian and then the Party Secretary of Liaoning Province, organ harvesting from prisoners took place at significant scale in that region. The organs were often taken from prisoners of conscience, specifically Falun Gong practitioners. Bo was also thought to have provided bodies to body plastination factories. These bodies eventually make into scientific exhibits.
Bo was not the only one involved in these crimes, therefore, they are not brought up for the protection of other high ranking officials. According to several Chinese medias, Bo is to only receive a15 year sentence. Since Bo has many associates overseas that know about many of the party”s secrets, it”s possible that he may have used information as leverage.
Interestingly, since the beginning of Bo”s trial, the Chinese search terms “Bo Xilai Organ Harvesting” and “Bo Xilai live harvesting” became unblocked on Baidu, one of China”s biggest search engines. Information regarding Bo”s connection to live organ harvesting of Falun Gong practitioners became readily available, though we don”t know how long the information will stay unblocked. The Chinese Internet is heavily censored and unblocking sensitive information like such requires the approval of several high ranking officials, so it is almost certain that this is not an accidental loophole. Could this be a move from Bo”s political opponents to further damage his reputation?