China detains friends, foes of Bo Xilai before trial

August 14, 2013

By NOZOMU HAYASHI/ Correspondent

BEIJING--Chinese authorities have clamped down on both supporters and opponents of Bo Xilai in an apparent attempt to ensure calm in society after the trial of the fallen political star starts.

Bo, 64, was dismissed as secretary of the Chongqing municipal Communist Party committee last year and indicted last month on charges of embezzlement and accepting bribes.

Fang Hong, a civil servant in Chongqing, has been detained in a facility on the outskirts of the city since July 30.

Two years ago, Fang posted a document on the Internet that criticized Bo. Fang was disciplined and spent time in a labor education camp.

When Bo was indicted on July 25 in Jinan, Shandong province, Fang submitted a request with his superior seeking time off work because he wanted to personally follow the outcome of Bo’s trial.

Local police got wind of that request.

In a telephone interview with The Asahi Shimbun, Fang said the police told him, “You cannot leave here until the trial is over.”

Pressure has also been applied to Bo’s supporters.

On Aug. 4, all contact was cut off with Song Yangbiao, a reporter for Shidai Zhoubao (Time Weekly).

A source said Song was detained by police in Beijing because he criticized what he called the “illegal trial” of Bo in a post on the Internet.

Song was released on Aug. 12.

According to a Hong Kong paper, fliers have been posted in Jinan that state, “Do not allow Qin Hui to try Yue Fei.”

Yue Fei is a patriotic general of the 12th century who is well-known in Chinese history. Qin Hui is widely regarded as a traitor for persecuting Yue Fei.

The flier apparently equates Bo to Yue Fei for his actions as a leader trying to save China. The leadership of the Communist Party is being criticized for forcing Bo out of office.

Bo was criticized for his strong-armed tactics that often ignored the law. At the same time, he attracted many supporters because of his political principles of wanting to help the weak.

Top party officials apparently do not want the trial to rekindle such positive public sentiment toward Bo.

Prosecutors have focused their case on Bo’s shady and abusive actions as a party leader to emphasize the Communist Party’s tough stance against corruption to fend off criticism that may be directed at the party.

By NOZOMU HAYASHI/ Correspondent
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A banner said to have been placed in front of a train station in Jinan, Shandong province, where Bo Xilai will be tried, reads "The people of Hunan will always support Bo Xilai, the people's secretary." (From a Chinese website)

A banner said to have been placed in front of a train station in Jinan, Shandong province, where Bo Xilai will be tried, reads "The people of Hunan will always support Bo Xilai, the people's secretary." (From a Chinese website)

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  • A banner said to have been placed in front of a train station in Jinan, Shandong province, where Bo Xilai will be tried, reads "The people of Hunan will always support Bo Xilai, the people's secretary." (From a Chinese website)
  • The defendant Bo Xilai

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