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Ai Weiwei on China’s Trial of the Century

Aug. 27 (Bloomberg) -- The just-concluded trial of Bo Xilai will be remembered as one of the most critical political milestones in contemporary Chinese Communist history. For many years after Chairman Mao’s death in 1976, show trials were straightforward affairs. For their role in the devastating Cultural Revolution, the Gang of Four were simply charged with “anti-party activities” and convicted. Today, a political trial needs to take into consideration many more factors.

As China assumes a more central role in international affairs and touts its rapid economic growth over the past 30 years, its leaders seek to establish a reputation for governing society according to the rule of law. Tested by Bo’s trial, the new leadership has struggled to maintain that fiction, and to appear open and confident before its people. Ultimately, those efforts have failed.