China state media praises legal system after Bo trial

Published September 23, 2013

| AFP

Chinese state media Monday praised the country's legal system and Beijing's anti-corruption drive following fallen politician Bo Xilai's trial, which it said was a landmark achievement that demonstrated "nobody has powers outside the law".

Bo, a former member of the Communist Party's elite politburo, was sentenced to life in prison Sunday and banned from politics after what was described in a China Daily editorial headline as "An exemplary trial".

The newspaper also said the proceedings proved that a corruption crackdown launched by Beijing was targeting both local level party members and higher-ranking officials such as Bo, who was the former party boss of the southwestern mega-city of Chongqing.

"There had been concerns that the fight was aimed only at those below the vice ministerial level" with voices deriding "the crackdown as only targeting flies rather than tigers", the editorial said.

"The sentence Bo received shows that no corrupt element is immune from the fight."

The China Daily also said that the "entire court proceedings were made public" on Jinan Intermediate People's Court verified page on Sina Weibo, a Chinese equivalent of Twitter.

There is no way of independently verifying the claim. Foreign journalists were not allowed in the court.

Separately, a Hong Kong newspaper claimed that Bo had reacted angrily as he was sentenced.

"The decision was not based on facts," Bo shouted, according to the South China Morning Post, which did not say how it got the information.

"The court is neither open nor just and didn't take the points made by my defence lawyers and me."

He was also said by the newspaper to have shouted "Unfair!" and "Unjust!" as he was convicted of bribery, embezzlement and abuse of power.

There was no mention of the outburst, however, in the official court transcript or in Chinese media.

The Communist Party mouthpiece People's Daily, meanwhile, addressed party members directly, reminding them not to wield power irresponsibly.

"All party members, especially the cadres, must remember well that nobody has power outside the law, and anyone who uses power must serve the people, be responsible for the people and consciously accept people's supervision," it said.

The party-linked Global Times newspaper in its English and Chinese language editions highly praised the Chinese legal system in an editorial under the headline: "Bo verdict shows power of law is real."

"The facts have proved that the proceedings of Bo's trial was not plotted, but strictly followed the law," it said, pointing to "claims" before the trial that Bo would receive a fixed term sentence of "a decade or so" and that the proceedings would be closed to the public.

"Fighting corruption in accordance with the law needs rigid efforts, and Bo's trial and its verdict have greatly increased the authority and prestige of the law in Chinese society," the Global Times added.

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