China media: Bo Xilai denials

Bo Xilai has denied corruption and abuse of power charges
Image caption Bo Xilai denied bribery charges, in a move that appeared to annoy state media

Official media attack former leader Bo Xilai for rejecting charges against him, while Hong Kong press see his case as a political show trial.

The Communist Party and military-run newspapers, such as the People's Daily and the Liberation Army Daily, are mostly carrying Xinhua news agency's round-up on the first day of the trial tucked away on the inside pages and make no mention of the case on their front pages.

"The accused, Bo Xilai, gave a statement on the bribery charges and denied the charges... The defendants and their counsel fully expressed their views. The defendant Bo Xilai was emotionally stable and his physical condition was normal during the hearing. The courtroom was orderly," says the terse Xinhua report without mentioning Mr Bo's defiant statements.

Official online media websites, however, attacked Mr Bo's personal character and his rejection of bribery charges after the first day of the trial closed.

"One never expected that a corrupt element could be so composed when standing in the dock and that a criminal could be so glib when faced with various crimes... Faced with the solemnity of the court and the law and faced with irrefutable facts and evidence of criminal acts, Bo Xilai was not overawed in the slightest and had no repentance whatsoever!" says a commentary on the state-run China Central Television website.

"Obviously, the legitimate rights of the defendant were fully guaranteed, and fairness, impartiality and transparency were a major feature of the trial. However, Bo's attitude towards the facts was to display cunningness and to deny them by every means possible," said one commentary in Communist Party-affiliated website Guangming Net.

The mainland media are carrying fewer updates today from the Jinan court's official microblog, except video testimony from Mr Bo's estranged wife Gu Kailai about alleged payments received by the Bo family from tycoon Xu Ming.

'Most-watched case'

Over in Hong Kong, Beijing-backed newspapers praise the trial as a sign of the Communist Party's resolve to stamp out corruption, but independent press feels the party may find it tough to prosecute Mr Bo.

"The most sensitive and most watched case is being conducted with a most public and open attitude. The degree of openness of the Bo Xilai case has exceeded the expectations of the outside world," comments the Ta Kung Pao.

"The overseas media are interpreting the Bo Xilai case as a Chinese Communist Party power struggle which is indeed deliberately misleading and even bears ulterior motives," says the Wen Wei Po, another Hong Kong daily with close links to Beijing.

Meanwhile, the independent Hong Kong press feel the trial ended up becoming the disgraced politician's "individual show".

"Unexpectedly, Bo Xilai retracted his testimony in court, and his rebuttal left the prosecution speechless. The entire trial was like Bo Xilai's individual show. The authorities face the embarrassment of an irredeemable situation on the Bo case... The authorities' investigation into Bo Xilai seems to lack sufficient evidence, and big gaps exist in their logic," concludes the Oriental Daily News.

"The shrewd and astute Bo is well aware that this is his last appearance in public and also his last public occasion to make statements and make his voice heard through the media. So despite his haggard appearance, he is as mentally agile as ever," notes the Hong Kong Economic Journal.

Other Hong Kong newspapers question whether Mr Bo's defiance in court signals a looming power struggle within the ruling Communist Party.

"Regardless of whether this is a power struggle or a factional struggle, it was never going to be easy to prove Bo Xilai's corruption charges, but now aren't they riding a tiger and unable to get off? Will it be even harder to quell the political turmoil?.. Obviously, the public trial of the Bo case is a political show," says the Apple Daily .

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