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.