News / Asia

China's Bo Denies Blocking Murder Probe Aimed at His Wife

In this photo released by the Jinan Intermediate People's Court, Bo Xilai listens to a testimony by former Chongqing city police chief Wang Lijun, unseen, at Jinan Intermediate People's Court in Jinan in eastern China's Shandong province, Aug. 24, 2013.
In this photo released by the Jinan Intermediate People's Court, Bo Xilai listens to a testimony by former Chongqing city police chief Wang Lijun, unseen, at Jinan Intermediate People's Court in Jinan in eastern China's Shandong province, Aug. 24, 2013.
William Ide
Chinese politician Bo Xilai denied allegations he abused his power and blocked an investigation into his wife’s murder of British businessman Neil Heywood.  His fierce defense against these and other allegations came during Saturday's court sesson.  The trial moves into a fourth day Sunday.

Bo Xilai faced his former subordinate, Chongching police chief Wang Lijun.  Wang helped expose the murder of Neil Heywood, a scandal that ended Bo’s political career.

Bo told Saturday's hearing Wang had confronted him about Gu Kailai’s murder of Heywood and that he slapped the police chief in response. He relieved Wang from his post several days later due to work-related stress.

Bo said his wife convinced him at the time that she had not killed (Heywood). Bo said Gu believed the police chief was trying to set her up.

Shortly after Wang was removed from his post, he fled to the U.S. Consulate in Chengdu with evidence about the family’s involvement in the murder. Bo told the court on Saturday that he accepted some responsibility for Wang’s flight to the consulate, but denied blocking the investigation.

The comments Bo made about his wife were in sharp contrast to everything else he has said about her in court.  He has already told the court that his wife is insane and questioned the credibility of her testimony against him in the other charges of bribery and extortion.

Bo has given a spirited defense of allegations that he accepted more than $3 million in bribes from two businessmen and that he pocketed $800,000 in state funds.  For those crimes, Bo has put most of the blame on his wife.

  • A black minivan (behind silver Mercedes minivan) believed to be carrying disgraced Chinese politician Bo Xilai arrives at the Jinan Intermediate People's Court ahead of the fifth day of Bo's trial in Jinan, Shandong province, August 26, 2013. 
  • A policeman guards the entrance of the Jinan Intermediate People's Court in Jinan, Shandong province, August 26, 2013. 
  • A minivan believed to be carrying disgraced Chinese politician Bo Xilai leaves the Jinan Intermediate People's Court after the end of the fifth day of Bo's trial in Jinan, Shandong province, August 26, 2013. 
  • A minivan (C) believed to be carrying disgraced Chinese politician Bo Xilai arrives at the Jinan Intermediate People's Court ahead of the fifth day of Bo's trial in Jinan, Shandong province, August 26, 2013. 
  • Bo Xilai leaves the Jinan Intermediate People's Court building in a vehicle in Jinan, Shandong province in this photo taken by Kyodo, August 23, 2013.
  • Gu Kailai is seen in a still image taken from an August 10, 2013 video provided by the Jinan Intermediate People's Court, recorded at an unknown location and screened on August 23, 2013 during Bo Xilai's trial.
  • In this photo released by the Jinan Intermediate People's Court, disgraced politician Bo Xila is flanked by police officers during his trial at the court in eastern China's Shandong province, August 22, 2013.
  • A TV screen shows a news report of disgraced politician Bo Xilai standing in the courtroom, flanked by police guards at Jinan Intermediate People's Court in eastern China's Shandong province, in Hong Kong, August 22, 2013.
  • A man wearing a t-shirt with a picture of former Chinese leader Mao Zedong holds a fan with the words "Bo Xilai" near the Jinan Intermediate People's Court in Jinan, August 22, 2013.
  • A supporter holds a placard during a rally behind a police barricade near the Jinan Intermediate People's Court, August 22, 2013. (Dongfang/VOA)
  • A woman protests outside the Jinan Intermediate People's Court in Jinan, eastern China's Shandong province, August 21, 2013.
  • Chinese police officers attempt to remove a woman protesting with the words "unjust" written on a banner outside the Jinan Intermediate People's Court in Jinan, August 21, 2013. (Dongfang/VOA)
  • Chinese police officers march out of the Jinan Intermediate People's Court in Jinan in eastern China's Shandong province, August 21, 2013.
  • Chinese police officers march out of the Jinan Intermediate People's Court in Jinan in eastern China's Shandong province, August 21, 2013.
  • Chinese police officers march out of the Jinan Intermediate People's Court in Jinan in eastern China's Shandong province, August 21, 2013.

Duan Wanjin, a Shaanxi-based criminal lawyer said that he was pleased with the latitude the court was giving Bo to mount his defense. He said that while Bo has denied the corruption and bribery charges against him in court, he still could face punishment.

“If, afterwards, he had evidence that made him perfectly aware of the fact that people gave him these assets - even if he did not actively participate in the exchange but also did not report or delayed reporting it - then it would still constitute bribery or extortion,” said the lawyer.

Prosecutors cited earlier written testimony Saturday in which Bo accepted responsibility for taking state funds.  Back in April, he said a government-planning official approached him 2002 and suggested the funds be diverted to help his wife and son overseas.

When Bo did not respond immediately to the offer, the official later suggested he speak with Bo’s wife about the funds.

In the April testimony, Bo said he was deeply ashamed and regretful about the incident for not trying to stop the transfer of funds or retrieve the money.

On Saturday, Bo said in the late 1990s he had an affair that angered his wife, Gu Kailai, who then moved to Britain with their son.  Bo suggested she was trying to get leniency by directing the corruption accusations toward him.

With five branch offices for her law firm in Beijing and assets worth up to 30 million yuan (around $5 million), Bo said Gu had plenty of money for herself and their son.

Most high-profile trials in China are wrapped up in hours or a little more than a day, so the duration of Bo’s trial has been surprising. In many cases, high-ranking politicians facing trial just accept the allegations against them.

Criminal lawyer Duan said Bo’s trial was setting a good example for future cases to follow.

“For cases that we have seen in the past, we have been told that they were open trials. But in fact they were secret trials, to a degree, and they would not let people know many details about the cases, including restrictions put on the court staff. But in Bo's case we can see that the court has the ability to represent itself,” he said.

Duan said that while some have said the final verdict for the trial has already been decided, he believed the court would make its final decision based on the facts and evidence presented in the case. 

A verdict is not expected until early September.

You May Like

African States Push to Keep Boko Haram Offline

Central African telecoms ministers working with Nigeria to block all videos posted by Boko Haram in effort to blunt Nigerian militant group's propaganda More

Falling Oil Prices, Internet-Savvy Youth Pose Challenge for Gulf Monarchies

Across the Gulf, younger generations are putting a strain on traditional politics More

Philippines Call Center Workers Face Challenges

Country has world’s largest business process outsourcing, or BPO, industry, employing some one-million workers More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Casei
X
Katherine Gypson
February 25, 2015 11:30 PM
The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Hurt Nascent Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Industry

Falling oil prices are helping consumers purchase cheaper petroleum at the pump. But that’s made hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” less economically viable for the companies in the United States invested in the process. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports on one Midwestern town that was hoping to change its fortunes by cashing in on the next big U.S. oil boom.
Video

Video Fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan Fuels Mass Displacement

Heavy fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan state is causing hundreds of thousands to flee into uncertain conditions. Local aid organizations estimate as many as 400,000 civilians have been internally displaced since the conflict began more than three years ago, while another 250,000 have fled across the border to refugee camps in South Sudan. VOA's Adam Bailes reports.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.
Video

Video A Filmmaker Discovers Her Biracial Identity in "Little White Lie

Lacey Schwartz grew up in an upper middle-class Jewish family, in a town in upstate New York where almost everyone she knew was white. She assumed that she was, as well. Her recent documentary, Little White Lie, tells the story of how she uncovered the secret of her true racial background. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more on the film.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video US-Cuba Normalization Talks Resume Friday

Negotiations aimed at normalizing diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba resume Friday. On the table: lifting a half-century trade embargo and easing banking and travel restrictions. There's opposition in Congress, but some analysts say there may be sufficient political and economic incentives in both nations for a potential breakthrough this year. VOA's Mil Arcega reports.
Video

Video Pakistan's Deadline For SIM Registration Has Cellphone Users Scrambling

Pakistani cell phone users have until midnight Thursday to register their SIM cards, or their service will be cut off. While some privacy experts worry about government intrusion, many Pakistanis are just worried about keeping their phone lines open. VOA Deewa reporter Arshad Muhmand has more from Peshawar.
Video

Video Myanmar Warns Factory Workers to End Strikes

Outside Myanmar's main city Yangon, thousands of workers walked off their jobs earlier this month demanding a doubling of their wages, pay raises after a year and input from labor unions on industrial regulations. Since Friday, the standoff has grown more tense as police moved in to disrupt the sit-ins, resulting in clashes that injured people from both sides. VOA correspondent Steve Herman visited industrial zones which have become a focus of Myanmar's fledgling workers rights movement.
Video

Video Oscar Winners Do More Than Thank the Academy

The Academy Awards presentation is Hollywood’s night to reward the best movies from the previous year. It’s typically a lot of glitter, a lot of thank you’s, a lot of speeches. But many of this year’s speeches carried messages beyond the thank you's. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti takes a look.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More