Top Story – Bo Xilai show trail begins, with an emphasis on “show”: The Chinese Communist regime’s determination to appear open reached laughable proportions with the trial of Bo Xilai – charged with corruption and helping his wife kill Neil Heywood. Bo retracted his own confession, and blasted his wife’s testimony (Washington Post). Willy Lam (one of my favorite analysts since his time on CNN over a decade ago) cut through the clutter:

‘His defense was genuinely surprisingly,’ (sic) said Willy Wo-Lap Lam, a political analyst at Chinese University of Hong Kong. ‘But you could also argue this was part of the arrangement, allowing him to have his say and defend himself.’

Both sides got something out of Thursday’s proceedings, Lam said.

Bo Xilai had the chance to prove to his still substantial number of supporters that he isn’t taking this lying down. For its part, the party can point to the vigorous defense it allowed as evidence of the rule of law and a fair and open trial.

Before we move on, here’s a reminder of yours truly’s Three Rules for Interpreting Corruption Charges in Communist China: 1) The charges are politically driven by factionalism; 2) Despite that, they’re probably true; and 3) The cadres pushing the prosecution have done (or are doing) far worse than anything the defendant did.

Local governments still borrowing recklessly: Economist-turned-dissident-turned-exile He Qinglian details how Premier Li Keqiang’s attempts to dial down debt levels in Communist China have failed utterly at the local level (Epoch Times).

Regime addresses demographic disaster by smearing single women: The CCP is as aware as the rest of us that the society they imprison is heading for a demographic catastrophe (Stratfor). They have responded in their usual, time-honored tradition – with a propaganda campaign aimed at shaming successful single women into marrying (Epoch Times).

About that organ harvesting phase-out…It’s not actually happening; the regime is in fact only promising to reduce harvesting, not end it entirely (Epoch Times).

Other Human Rights News: Microbloggers (as they are called on the western shore of the Pacific) are the next target of the regime’s war on differing opinions (Epoch Times). The lawyer for the Dalian 13 is assaulted by regime police, again (Epoch Times). Hong Kong is having troubles of its own (Epoch Times).

First Nations Tribe saving Canadian government from embarrassment over investment accord with Communist China: The Canadian government is holding off getting its Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement with Communist China until a court challenge from the Hupacasath tribe in British Columbia is settled. As a result, the agreement remains in limbo as Communist boss Xi Jinping tightens his grip (and the economy he runs wobbles badly). Ironically, the freeze also spares Canada’s government from the avalanche of controversy that threatens to drown Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou on a similar subject (the cross-straits services agreement). Report: Epoch Times

Speaking of Taiwan…President Ma Ying-jeou comes home from his diplomatic tour, to find an unhappy electorate (Taipei Times). Meanwhile, the opposition Democratic Progressives map out their anti-nuclear tactics, and begin the review of their two terms in power (Taipei Times).

CCP’s Korean colony reaching out to mutual ally in Tehran: While “North Korea” may be slipping in the eyes of their colonial masters in Zhongnanhai (One Free Korea), the Viceroy appears to trying to make it up with trade deals with the mullahcracy of Iran (OFK) – which just happens to be a two-decade-plus ally of the Chinese Communist regime.

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