Top Story – Bo Xilai trial continues: The former Chongqing party boss is still trying to defend himself – albeit handicapped by the fact that the most damning testimony against him came from his wife via videotape, which meant cross-examination was impossible (Epoch Times and Washington Post). Among other things the trial coverage has revealed is the myopia of “Main Stream Media” on this issue, such as the Washington Post, which is treating this trial as a new move toward openness by the Chinese Communist Party. The folks at the Epoch Times, meanwhile, took the time to notice the heavy hand of the CCP:

No video or audio record of Bo Xilai is ever released. He speaks only through transcripts, posted as image files—and reportedly sanitized of inconvenient references—on the court’s microblog.

The Epoch Times crew also noticed how tightly scripted things are outside the courtroom as well.

As a reminder, here are the 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.

Private businessmen in Communist China, coming to terms with their powerlessness, demand change: After seeing one of their own (again) executed for “backing the wrong political horse” (Washington Post), several private businessmen have had enough with being treated “dogs” or “pigs” and having to “survive only at the whim of a distrustful Communist Party.” Some of them are demanding political reform – real political reform:

Within China, most business leaders try to keep their heads down, concentrating on maximizing returns to shareholders and investors. A small but growing group, however, says the time has come to speak out for political reform, for the rule of law and a judiciary independent of the Communist Party, and for the protection of private property and civil rights. In the process, they are breaking a taboo in Communist China that business leaders never discuss politics.

This is hardly universal; favored firms are still parroting the party line. However, if enough of these folks speak out, it could be enough to remind the rest of the world that the corporatist CCP system is not even close to a genuine free market.

Other Human Rights News: The CCP crackdown on Falun Gong claims five more victims (Epoch Times). Environmental protestors get the heavy hand of the CCP “law” (Epoch Times). The regime borrows the “modified, limited hangout” tactic from their old friend Nixon on organ harvesting (Epoch Times).

Rescue workers in Communist China demand bribes to do their job: Jian Tong (Epoch Times) has the details.

US Defense Secretary to visit Southeast Asia amid growing concern over CCP aggressiveness: Secretary Hagel will visit four countries – Malaysia, Indonesia, Brunei, and the Philippines. All of them have disputes over South China Sea territory with Communist China (and the last one – the Philippines – has been building up its military to counter Zhongnanhai). Report: Washington Times

Other International News: A Canadian event goes somewhat awry when a Communist Chinese mouthpiece doesn’t get what he wants (CBC and National Post, both Cdn.). The CCP lashes out at the Indian Navy – a sure sign the latter is making the regime nervous (Washington Times). Finally, Richard Fisher (a favorite analyst of yours truly) calls for a tougher American policy toward the CCP in the Washington Times.

Anti-trade-pact Alliance targets first Taiwanese legislator for recall: The Constitution 133 Alliance (named after a clause in the ROC Constitution that allows recalls) took aim at Wu Yu-sheng, a Kuomintang legislator. Wu ran afoul of a number of Alliance issues (most similar to the “pan-green” opposition platform), including a cross-straits services trade deal which the Alliance (and the opposition) consider to be too friendly to the Communist regime (Taipei Times).

News from the CCP’s Korean colony: Joshua Stanton gives the news rundown in One Free Korea.