Critics say meeting could help bolster repressive former minister amid political infighting in China...But Harper’s meeting with Bo is a “big mistake,” David Matas said.
“Bo Xilai represents the worst elements of China and the communist party system—ambitious and brutal—and he has been marginalized and demoted because of it, and because of the international storm his brutality has caused, and the fact that he is so ill-reputed abroad that they can’t send him abroad. And so they sent him away.”
Matas said Bo’s efforts to return to power would be “bad news for anybody who believes in human rights.”
“Harper, by visiting him, is helping Bo Xilai in his campaign to rehabilitate himself, and to resuscitate the reputation he has lost by his own activity in abusing human rights.”
Bo rose to power through former Chinese leader Jiang Zemin, and in part through his hardline crackdown on Falun Gong as part of Jiang’s campaign against the spiritual group, a move some analysts interpreted as an effort by Jiang to solidify his own political position.
Bo is among the most ardent repressors in China, and as Governor of Liaoning from 2001 to 2004 presided over 100 confirmed torture deaths of Falun Gong practitioners.
Currently, he is being sued by Toronto resident Rong Jin, who at 27 was detained and tortured in a Dalian prison, in Liaoning province.Evidence of complicity in torture, murder, genocide, and crimes against humanity prompted a total of 14 lawsuits against him in 13 countries.
In November 2009, following a two-year investigation, a Spanish court indicted Bo, along with Jiang Zemin and three other top Chinese leaders, for their role in crimes of torture and genocide committed against Falun Gong practitioners. An Argentine judge had also issued arrest warrants for top Chinese officials including Bo in the same year. Read More