Disgraced Chongqing Communist Party boss Bo Xilai will be tried in "public" for up to 10 days, but the trial will not take place before March, says the Global Times, quoting a source close to the Supreme People's Court.
The date and location of the trial would be announced in advance, the paper, an offshoot of the official People's Daily, reported yesterday.
Mainland law stipulates that all court cases, save those considered secret, must be publicised a few days before their trial.
Early yesterday, dozens of mainland and foreign journalists flocked to the People's Intermediate Court in Guiyang. Their visit follows last Thursday's online report by Ta Kung Pao, a Beijing-loyalist newspaper based in Hong Kong, that Bo would stand trial in Guizhou's provincial capital.
Jiang Hao , a vice-president of the court in Guiyang, told reporters the court had not received any information suggesting Bo would be tried in Guiyang. He promised to inform the media in the event that the case would be heard in the city.
"I'm perplexed too," Jiang said. "As the executive deputy head of the courthouse, how come I'm in the dark with regard to the news?"
A Beijing-based source close to the investigation of Bo's case said: "All evidence pointing to the crimes Bo committed is already well in place. He will definitely be subject to harsh punishment, although he keeps refusing to admit his mistakes at this stage.
"Bo will very likely be given a suspended death penalty or life imprisonment, standing no chance of ever setting foot outside jail for the rest of his life, given the huge fortune he amassed and the political ambitions he harboured."
Political analysts said Bo's attitude could be key to the timing of his trial.
"The key point for the trial is whether Bo is willing to co-operate or [whether] he will be defiant to the authorities," said Chen Ziming , an independent political commentator.
"Unlike his wife, Bo is a person with strong political convictions and beliefs who will hardly back down in tussles unless immensely concrete and solid proof is produced before him."
Chen said Bo's trial was unlikely to start before the annual session of the National People's Congress closes in mid-March, especially as the Lunar New Year, which begins on February 10, was approaching soon.
Zhang Lifan , a Beijing-based analyst, agreed that Bo's attitude might be the deciding factor. "It is probable that Bo will create trouble or disturbances at the courthouse, just like Jiang Qing did roughly three decades ago," said Zhang.
"Or he may stay completely silent in protest against the court, just like Zhang Chunqiao's reaction in his trial."
Both Jiang, Mao Zedong's widow, and Zhang Chunqiao were members of the "Gang of Four", who were blamed for the Cultural Revolution.