BEIJING -- Bo Guagua, the younger son of a fallen Communist Party leader scheduled to go on trial this week, made a rare public comment on the case on Monday, saying in a statement that he had been unable to communicate with his father or mother for a year and a half and drawing attention to their "clandestine detention."
In a statement released to The New York Times on Monday, Mr. Bo, who lives in the United States, bemoaned his mother's conviction on a murder charge and said he hoped his father would be "granted the opportunity to answer his critics and defend himself."
The father, Bo Xilai, is at the center of arguably the biggest scandal to shake the Communist Party in decades. His wife, Gu Kailai, was convicted last year in the poisoning death of a British businessman, and in July, Mr. Bo, a former Politburo member and party chief of the municipality of Chongqing, was charged with bribetaking, corruption and abuse of power. The party announced Sunday that his trial will start Thursday in Jinan, the capital of Shandong Province, which is far east of Chongqing.
Political analysts said the outcome had almost certainly been decided already by party leaders, and Mr. Bo, 64, is expected to get a long prison sentence.
Bo Guagua, a graduate of Harrow, Oxford University and the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard, has just enrolled in Columbia Law School. The third generation of an aristocratic Communist family, he had led a privileged life until the downfall of his parents.
"It has been 18 months since I have been denied contact with either my father or my mother," Mr. Bo, 25, said in his statement. "I can only surmise the conditions of their clandestine detention and the adversity they each endure in solitude. I hope that in my father's upcoming trial, he is granted the opportunity to answer his critics and defend himself without constraints of any kind."
"However, if my well-being has been bartered for my father's acquiescence or my mother's further cooperation, then the verdict will clearly carry no moral weight," he added.
There has been speculation this week among Chinese political observers that the elder Mr. Bo or Ms. Gu might have acquiesced to demands from officials in exchange for a guarantee that no harm would come to their son.
Ms. Gu was convicted last August of poisoning Neil Heywood, a British family associate who died in a hotel room in Chongqing the previous year. She received a suspended death sentence, which often equates to a life term.
Some people briefed on the case have said Ms. Gu might have provided crucial testimony that prosecutors will present against Mr. Bo, though it was unclear whether Ms. Gu would appear in court.
Those briefed on the case said the substance of two of the charges against Mr. Bo, bribetaking and corruption, appeared related more to Ms. Gu's actions than to his. Both charges supposedly involve financial transactions that took place when Mr. Bo was mayor of the northeastern port city of Dalian.
The third charge, abuse of power, is said to be related to Mr. Bo's demotion of Wang Lijun, the police chief of Chongqing, who was in theory leading the investigation into Mr. Heywood's death and was tied to the Bo family in complicated ways.
In his statement, Bo Guagua discussed the fate of his mother publicly for the first time since the scandal broke in early 2012.
"My mother, who is now silenced and defenseless, cannot respond to the opportunistic detractors that attack her reputation with impunity," Mr. Bo said. "She has already overcome unimaginable tribulation after the sudden collapse of her physical health in 2006 and subsequent seclusion. Although it is of little comfort to my anxiety about her state of health, I know that she will continue to absorb all that she is accused of with dignity and quiet magnanimity."
Mr. Bo was referring to an illness that appeared to have struck Ms. Gu in Beijing when her husband was commerce minister. Family associates have said that the illness was debilitating, and that Ms. Gu became paranoid and was rarely seen in public afterward.
Last year, family associates said in interviews that Ms. Gu believed she had been poisoned with a substance mixed into daily herbal medicine, and that she blamed mainly Li Wangzhi, the son from Mr. Bo's first marriage. That son's mother, Li Danyu, said in an interview that her family had played no role in any poisoning.
After releasing the statement, Mr. Bo declined to answer any further questions about himself or his family, though he did confirm his enrollment at Columbia.
Mr. Bo has released only one other statement after his father's downfall. In September, when the party announced some of its findings against the father, Mr. Bo said in a brief statement that his father was "upright in his beliefs and devoted to duty."
This article originally appeared in The New York Times.