Bao Tong | Radio Free Asia [caption id="attachment_3550" align="alignleft" width="300"] Zhou Yongkang sentenced to life in prison (english.sina.com)[/caption] The Supreme Court made a solemn declaration that Zhou Yongkang would be tried in open court. Three months later, it had changed its tune on the Zhou case, and instead a trial was held in secret. There were no changes to Chinese law, nor did the chairman of the Supreme Court change. “Tried in open court according to law” became “tried behind closed doors according to law.” The Chinese people knew nothing of this trial; they might as well have been deaf, blind, and dumb as well, because their voice was suppressed. Some say Zhou was tried in secret because state secrets were involved, that ordinary people aren’t allowed to know about. This is surprising. Didn’t the trial of [former Chongqing party chief] Bo Xilai involve state secrets? So the fact that Bo Xilai’s wife murdered an Englishman wasn’t a state secret, while the untold harm that would shame heaven perpetrated by Zhou is a sacred taboo that must by guarded on his behalf by party and state? Why was Bo tried openly, while Zhou’s trial had to be in secret? The real problem is that China is regressing. In the past, there was no rule of law in China. But the Fourth Plenum [of the 18th Party Congress] declared that we would have the rule of law, and spread the word across the land. Now it transpires that this was nothing but propaganda, and what appears to be regression, is indeed regression. Maybe that’s wise: The scandal was too much to bear, and disclosing it would have looked bad for the party, and jeopardized the reputation of both party and state. Maybe they took a step backwards as a result of a series of carefully thought out and courageous decisions. Perhaps the scandal had to be kept under wraps and confidentiality maintained as a fig leaf, and the dirty laundry of party and state had to be washed together, while the Chinese people had to be treated as gullible fools, and as the enemy. Maybe all these factors lay behind their decision. But it is still wrong.