Avoiding censors, China’s netizens discuss Gu Kailai trialBy Michael Evans Aug 12, 2012 6:09AM UTC
Thursday’s trial of Gu Kailai has become a hot topic on China’s microblogs, despite official attempts to limit online discussion.
While key terms such as the names of Gu and her husband Bo Xilai have been banned, netizens have avoided restrictions with a number of tricks, such as referring to Gu as “Guagua’s mother” or “the princess.”
Some netizens wryly noted comments Gu had previously made praising the fairness of China’s legal system, contrasting them to the clear political nature of Thursday’s trial.
“An American trial always gives bad people a chance to take advantage of the loopholes,” she wrote in a 1998 book recounting her own time in the US.
“The Chinese judicial system is fairest…. If you kill somebody, they’ll arrest you, try you and shoot you.”
“Now she has fallen into her own lies,” declared microblogger Chen Ming, recalling Gu’s comparison. “I don’t know how Gu Kailai feels about it.”
Another netizen ventured a guess on Gu’s current state of mind.
“Right now, Sister Kailai is personally experiencing ‘the fairest judicial system,’” one netizen wrote. “I believe she must be trembling with joy.”
Many internet users commented on the political nature of the trial, wondering how fair an outcome was possible given the identity of the defendant and her once-powerful husband.
“Our lawyer friends have said that China is a country of politics-and-law, because governance is greater than law,” one netizen wrote. “I’m afraid it will be difficult for this case to get an impartial hearing.”
“In the 32 years from the trial of Jiang Qing to today’s trial in Hefei, how far have we gone along the road to the rule of law?” asked another.
“The rule of law must place the rulers under the rules, ensure that ‘everyone is equal before the law.’ The rule of law must place limits on absolute power.”
But some noted that the unique status of the defendants also gave them “special rights”, however small they may be.
Many netizens wondered why both Gu and co-defendant Zhang Xiaojun wore civilian clothes rather than the prison uniform commonly seen in criminal trials. Others noted that while both were escorted by police officers, their hands were unrestrained.
Gu’s physical appearance at the trial drew other comments as well.
“Big Sister killed a man, but she still has a smile on her face,” one netizen wrote.
Others noted that Gu seemed to have gained weight since the last time she had been seen in public. “The food on the inside must not be that bad,” quipped one microblogger.
Some, noting the change in her physical appearance, wondered if the person present at the trial was Gu at all, or a body double instead.