So… is this thing actually happening? Rumors have been surfacing that claim Bo Xilai will be put on trial tomorrow night. I’ve seen a few facts put forth that make that seem unlikely, but would anyone really be surprised by the Party doing this suddenly and without warning? I guess we’ll see in a few hours. Malcolm Moore with some details:
Bo Guagua’s return to Beijing comes amid rumours that his father’s trial is imminent.
Mingjing News, a Hong Kong newspaper which has been more often wrong than right about Communist party politics, reported that the trial will begin on Monday in Changsha, the capital of Hunan province.
Mr Bo is likely to be put on trial in a “neutral” location, well away from his power bases in Beijing, Chongqing and Dalian.
But Changsha, if correct, would be a theatrical flourish by the Party leadership: it is the home city of Mao Tse-tung, whose revolutionary ideology Mr Bo so often espoused.
One post on Weibo suggested that all Chinese newspapers have been instructed to “clear space” for major news arriving today or tomorrow.
However, one diplomatic source said the news could be Mr Bo’s indictment, rather than an actual trial. “I heard a rumour that charges will be laid at the court on October 15 or 16. If so, according to the criminal procedure law, a trial would follow within 15 days,” he added.
That leaves just enough time for the Party to wrap up the deeply divisive case before it opens its 18th Party Congress on November 8 and readies a once-in-a-decade change of its top leaders.
The younger Mr Bo will also have to tread carefully: some experts have said the evidence presented at his mother’s trial and at the trial of Wang Lijun, his father’s chief of police, could incriminate him.
“They laid the ground to bring charges against Bo Guagua if they want. If not, it means they have done a deal,” said the diplomatic source.
UPDATE: Turns out Bo Guagua may not even be in China, so… oops. More on this when it either happens or doesn’t happen.