EDITORIAL: Chinese Court's Ruling on Bo Indication of Communist Party's Fears for Future

Article excerpt

The Chinese court ruling on former senior politician Bo Xilai was politically motivated and placed top priority on stabilizing Chinese Communist Party rule. However, public discontent is simmering and there is uncertainty over the country's future.

The court handed down a life sentence to Bo, a former Politburo member and Chongqing city party leader, who was charged with taking bribes, embezzlement and abuse of power. It is unusual for a former party leader to receive such a severe sentence.

Although China is supposedly ruled by law despite being a one-party state, rulings on important trials are basically decided by the Chinese Communist Party. China has a two-tiered justice system, but it is highly unlikely Bo's sentence will be overturned, even if he appeals.

The administration of Chinese President Xi Jinping decided to sentence Bo to life in prison apparently to show ordinary Chinese that it would never forgive corruption, even if senior party officials are involved. It also must have been intended to condemn Bo's demagogic style, which could cause the party's rule to disintegrate.

When he was party chief in Chongqing, Bo placed priority on the ideal of equality, which the party must have originally touted, and implemented policies to correct disparities, such as constructing affordable housing for the poor.

Bo aimed to join China's supreme leadership. He had people sing revolutionary songs from the Mao Zedong era to show how much the people supported him.

The Xi administration probably feared that Bo's style could ignite the people's frustration against the current situation and lead to a flurry of criticism against the party. …