China: Leftists pen open letter supporting Bo Xilai


Bo Xilai attends the National People's Congress on March 9, 2012 in Beijing, when he was Communist Party secretary for Chongqing. He has since been ousted and charged with a long list of crimes, in China's biggest political scandal in decades.


Feng Li

A left-wing group of Chinese academics penned an open letter to their communist government, asking for party official Bo Xilai not to be expelled from parliament.

The letter, which had over 700 signatories, was posted on the left-wing Chinese-language website, Red China.

The ex-Communist Party chief of Chongqing is accused of a number of illegal activities, and if expelled loses political immunity from criminal prosecution.

"What is the reason provided for expelling Bo Xilai?" the letter read. Please investigate the facts and the evidence. Please announce to the people evidence that Bo Xilai will be able to defend himself in accordance with the law."

The letter rhetorically asked, "Is this not a big joke we are playing on the world when we have been telling people left, right and centre that we are a country with rule of law?"

The BBC talked to Lin Longhua from Chengdu, Sichuan province, who said he signed the letter "because I want China's legal system to be fair."

"I believe that the way Bo Xilai case has been dealt with has seriously violated China's own legal procedures. I do not consider myself to be a leftist or rightist. What I just want is for... the country to have more democracy and freedom. I have never supported Bo Xilai before."

Bo's wife, Gu Xilai, was convicted of killing British businessman Neil Heywood in August, and was later expelled from the Communist Party of China.

China's leftists, says the BBC's Angus Foster, "are a small but vocal group of academics and officials who argue that market reforms have gone too far, and the socialist goals of China's Communist Party founders have been forgotten."

The Bo Xilai scandal could not have come at a worst time for China's government, which will undergo a once-in-a-decade transition of power in November.