- No tailgating allowed at Super Bowl XLVIII
- Pentagon to transport African troops to Central African Republic
- Chinese man fed up with his girlfriend’s shopping jumps to his death
- Ukraine leader to talk with protesters; Washington urges caution
- Pope Francis: A nun saved my life
- Israeli P.M. Netanyahu backs out of Mandela funeral
- Elian Gonzalez makes first trip outside Cuba since custody battle
- U.S., British intelligence agents enter online sci-fi world to spy on gamers
- Sarah Palin to host the outdoors show ‘Amazing America’
- CIA admits $3 billion intelligence operation was a flop
Chinese activists issue letter criticizing case against Bo
BEIJING (AP) — An array of activists, academics and dissidents is questioning the Chinese authorities’ purge of Bo Xilai, demanding that China's legislature follow the rule of law and allow the disgraced leader to defend himself before lawmakers.
The nation’s leadership is desperate to move beyond a scandal involving a former member of its Politburo that has drawn worldwide attention, and some say it is doing so at the expense of standard legal procedures.
Left-leaning supporters of Mr. Bo wrote an open letter to the National People’s Congress urging it to allow him to have his say. The petition has begun to draw broader and somewhat unlikely support, attracting signatures from exiled dissidents and rights activists who don’t consider themselves in Mr. Bo’s corner.
The legislature’s standing committee was expected to expel Mr. Bo during its four-day meeting starting Tuesday, a move that would strip Mr. Bo of his legislative immunity and pave the way for his criminal prosecution, likely in a swift trial.
“They should give Bo a chance to defend himself. The procedure has to be just,” said Zeng Yuan, a local rights activists from Chengdu, who said he signed the petition even though he does not support Mr. Bo.
Mr. Bo was one of China’s best-known politicians until he fell from grace earlier this year when a close aide disclosed that Mr. Bo’s wife had murdered British businessman Neil Heywood. He has been out of sight, presumably detained, since mid-March. He was expelled from the party last month.
Authorities have said they intend to charge Mr. Bo with obstruction of justice connected with the Heywood murder, as well as corruption and illicit sexual affairs that go against Communist Party rules.
Mr. Bo’s reputation for championing social fairness and communist nostalgia made him popular among poorer Chinese and those who identify themselves as member of the new left — believers in a strong authoritarian government that promotes more egalitarian economic and social policies.
But his maneuvering to reach the highest echelons of the Communist Party angered many in Beijing, while his campaign to promote Communist Party culture revived memories of the chaotic Cultural Revolution, Mao Zedong’s radical experiment in class warfare to root out opponents of communism.
Mr. Bo also has been accused of trampling on civil liberties — making it all the more noteworthy that rights activists are coming to his defense. His anti-mafia crackdown in the city of Chongqing was rife with allegations of torture against suspects.
“Whether Bo Xilai broke the law or not should be based on facts; we ask for openness and fairness,” Mr. Liu said. “We hope that in the handling of major events, like the Bo Xilai incident that has grabbed the attention of the world, we can promote China’s rule of law.”
Mr. Liu said that organizers received hundreds of signatures by email and that it was not possible to verify the authenticity of all of them. At least 10 of the several hundred names have already been proved fake, he said, though he believed the vast majority of them were genuine.
The letter also criticizes government moves to block leftist websites and clamp down on dissenting voices in the Bo scandal.
“Are these not barbaric acts that flagrantly violate our constitution and laws and shameful acts that completely departing from the principle of the rule of law and the people’s democratic spirit?” the letter says.
Mr. Liu elaborated in an email that moves to shut down discussion of the Bo case appeared to subvert the legal system in order to carry out a political purge.
Signatories include Gong Xiantian, a law professor at the prestigious Peking University, who confirmed in an email that he signed the letter. Exiled dissidents Wang Xizhe and Gao Han, living in the United States, also confirmed their signatures. Mr. Wang and Mr. Gao do not identify themselves as leftists.
“Our system has its shortcomings, but no system exists without shortcomings,” he said.
Mr. Liu said that he met with authorities in his city Saturday to discuss the letter but that they decided that he was patriotic and a supporter of the party and told him he was safe. They asked him not to publicly issue the letter but that it was OK to forward it to the congress.
Associated Press researcher Flora Ji contributed to this report.
By Brahma Chellaney
Beijing's creeping aggression signals a challenge to U.S. presence in the Asian Pacific
- CURL: Obama tells a whopper on IRS scandal
- WOLF: The president's other Obamacare lies
- Tech companies call for an end to NSA online snooping
- Obama lied about Syrian chemical attack, 'cherry-picked' intelligence: report
- Ted Cruz sees legal landmines ahead for Obamacare
- Lawmakers see 'false narrative' of Obama as a terrorist fighter
- Chinese man fed up with his girlfriend's shopping jumps to his death
- MSNBC host: Obamacare a 'wealthy white men' racist word
- Satanists petition for statue at Oklahoma Statehouse
- MILLER: Brady Campaign says Colorado recalls due to NRA, not grassroots opposition to gun control
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
Brazen, leading-edge, “call it like it is” columns and reporting from Ohio native, radio host and writer, Sara Marie Brenner.
Let’s talk about everything, especially the absurdity of it all
Find the latest news and happening that effect those in the Washington D.C., Northern Virginia and Maryland Metro region.
Never apologetic. Never afraid. Lieutenant Colonel Allen B. West joins Communities to bring tales from the biggest Foxhole of them all, the one inside the Beltway.
White House pets gone wild!
Let it snow