Conflict & Justice

Trial Starts for Former Chinese Political Leader Bo Xilai

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Credit: REUTERS

A mobile phone held by the photographer shows a photo from a court's microblog page of disgraced Chinese politician Bo Xilai standing trial, in Jinan, Shandong province August 22, 2013. Bo appeared in public for the first time in more than a year on Thursday to face trial in eastern China, the final chapter of the country's most politically charged case in more than three decades. REUTERS/Jason Lee (CHINA - Tags: POLITICS CRIME LAW TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY) - RTX12SX2

Bo Xilai was once a rising political star in China.

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(This story is based on a radio interview. Listen to the full interview.)

His father was a compatriot of Mao Zedong and he, a Chinese princeling, was headed for a political greatness.

Then more than a year ago Bo took a precipitous fall. He was charged with bribery, embezzlement and corruption. His wife was charged with murder.

On Thursday, his trial started in Jinan, China about 250 miles south of the Chinese capital, Beijing.

In an unexpected turn, the Chinese government posted transcripts of the trial on the Internet chronicling an account of Bo defending his actions.

Anchor Marco Werman speaks with Barbara Demick, the China Bureau Chief for the LA Times, who has been reporting from Jinan where the trial is taking place.

The Chinese people are monitoring this trial carefully says Demick.

"What they're looking at is the trial itself, whether this will be a political purge trial or whether this will be an actual fair trial and I think for many Chinese the legal system is what is at stake and what is on trial," she says.

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