BEIJING - Fallen Chinese politician Bo Xilai's spirited self-defence in court was likely condoned by the authorities to give a varnish of fairness to a trial in which the verdict is already decided, analysts say.
Bo, who was tipped for top office ahead of a once-in-a-decade leadership transition last year, hurled insults at his accusers and calmly tried to bore holes in the prosecutors' logic.
His display on the first day of his trial Thursday at the court in Jinan was in contrast to the meekness usually shown by defendants in high-profile Chinese cases.
But analysts said that while Bo's being allowed to speak out gave the process a sheen of transparency, it will have no effect on the result.
Steve Tsang, an expert on Chinese politics at Britain's University of Nottingham, said the trial had been agreed on by the top leadership with the verdict and sentence already determined.
"Therefore, almost whatever he does the court is going to act in accordance with the script prepared beforehand," he said.
Bo was allowed to speak out via the release of near-real-time court transcripts sent via social media - although it was not clear how complete the accounts were.
"I think the authorities will say that they have tried to give him an opportunity to defend himself," said Willy Lam, an expert on Chinese politics at the Chinese University of Hong Kong.
"So it gives some credence to the spin which Beijing is trying to give this, that they are now more willing to observe the rule of law and so forth."