The trail of disgraced but still popular Chinese politician Bo Xilai started last Thursday and has been extended to today. One of the many surprises of the trial, which include Bo’s vigorous self-defense in court, are the two police officers towering over the 6-foot-1 Bo who is very tall by Chinese standards (1.86 meters).
The purpose is obvious – to make Bo look smaller. Many netizens joked that they finally understood why the government has chosen Jinan, the capital of Shandong province which is known for “big guys”, for the trial. Some other netizens, who know very well how good the Chinese government is at staging events to manipulate public opinions, set out to find an answer. And what they found out is truly surprising.
At least one of the two police officers accompanying Bo in court may be a professional basketball player who is 2.02 meters tall (about 6 foot 6 inches). His name is Gong Xiaobin. Anyone familiar with Chinese basketball in the 90s should know his name. A Shandong native, Gong used to play at Chinese national basketball team and was once voted a national star player. He is now the coach of Shandong basketball team. There is no confirmation or whatsoever, but Gong does look quite like the police officer standing on the left side of Bo. [Picture from netizen @Fifthdimen]
The police officer may or may not be an intentional hire just to tower over Bo. But to have police officers higher than the corrupt officials on trial does seem to be a common practice in China. For example, just a few weeks ago when former Rail boss Liu Zhijun appeared in court, he was also dwarfed by his accompanying police officers. Let’s just hope that Yao Ming won’t need to stand in trial one day in China. It’d be very difficult to find someone taller than him.