Trial of ex-Chongqing party boss Bo Xilai to be shown live to reporters

The trial of disgraced Chongqing party chief Bo Xilai in Jinan, Shandong province, will be broadcast live for reporters, Chinese media reported - PHOTO: AP
The trial of disgraced Chongqing party chief Bo Xilai in Jinan, Shandong province, will be broadcast live for reporters, Chinese media reported - PHOTO: AP

BEIJING - The trial of disgraced Chongqing party chief Bo Xilai in Jinan, Shandong province, will be broadcast live for reporters at a hotel near the court, Chinese media reported, in a development that has taken observers by surprise.The court proceedings will be shown at Jinan's Jihua Hotel, designated as a media centre for journalists reporting on the case, China's well-regarded Southern Metropolis Daily has reported, citing Shandong officials.

The Shandong intermediate people's court, which is handling the case, will also issue live tweets on its microblog account, the paper added.A limited live telecast is unheard of even in high-profile corruption cases involving senior officials, like the trials of former Beijing mayor Chen Xitong and former Shanghai party chief Chen Liangyu.

One has to go back about three decades to the trial of the Gang of Four, a group led by Mao Zedong's wife Jiang Qing, to find an instance where a court case involving officials was telecast live. The move to have a live telecast in Bo's case highlights how Beijing hopes to show that  Bo, who still has many supporters, is tried in a manner above public scrutiny.  A former member of the 25-man Politburo, Bo, 64, is only the third Politburo member to be charged for corruption after Chen Xitong and Chen Liangyu.Bo faces charges of bribery, embezzlement and abuse of power in relation to the murder of British businessman Neil Heywood by his wife Gu Kailai, in China's worst political scandal in decades.

hoaili@sph.com.sg