Former Politburo member Bo Xilai went on trial Thursday for bribery and embezzlement with China's judiciary as much in the spotlight as the man at the center of the country's most politically charged case in 30 years.

The proceedings began after 8:30 a.m., Xinhua News Agency reported. Bo's supporters gathered under a heavy security to wave banners and portraits of Chairman Mao Zedong, while police herded journalists into a cordoned-off area across from the court building.

"Bo Xilai goes along with the real socialist road," said a 42-year-old protester who identified himself as Shao. "He did everything for the common people, not for the very few rich people."