News / Asia

Bo Xilai's Son Doubts Father Will Get Fair Trial

China's former Chongqing Municipality Communist Party Secretary Bo Xilai (R) and his son Bo Guagua stand in front of a picture of his father Bo Yibo, former vice-chairman of the Central Advisory Commission of the Communist Party of China. (File photo)
China's former Chongqing Municipality Communist Party Secretary Bo Xilai (R) and his son Bo Guagua stand in front of a picture of his father Bo Yibo, former vice-chairman of the Central Advisory Commission of the Communist Party of China. (File photo)
Disgraced Chinese politician Bo Xilai’s son has made an open appeal for his father just two days before he is set to face trial in a court in China. The letter from Bo Guagua was sent to The New York Times. 
In a brief statement to the newspaper, Bo said he hopes that during the trial his father would be given the chance to answer his critics and defend himself without “constraints of any kind.”
Bo Xilai  

  • Father Bo Yibo was one of the founders of the People's Republic of China
  • Bo Xilai joined the Communist Party in 1980
  • Was mayor of Dailan, governor of Liaoning province and commerce minister
  • Named leader of Chongqing city in 2007 and ascended to membership in the Politburo
  • Gained prominence for launching crackdown on corruption in Chongqing
  • Expelled form Communist Party in September, 2012
  • Found guilty of bribery, corruption and abuse of power in September, 2013, sentenced to life in prison
Bo Xilai is set to go on trial on Thursday, in the eastern coastal city of Jinan, on charges of corruption, abuse of power and for taking bribes.
His son’s statement said that for the past 18 months he has been denied contact with both of his parents, Bo Xilai and his mother Gu Kailai. He wrote that he can only assume the conditions of their “clandestine detention” and the adversities they have had to endure in solitude.
The letter to The New York Times said David Goodman, head of the University of Sydney’s China Studies Center, is more an appeal to audiences in the United States than those in China.
“Bo Guagua is a spoiled, rich boy and he's ended up by chance, as it happens in the [United] States when his family is facing political disgrace," noted Goodman. "So what does he do? He can't go back to China, somebody is presumably paying for him to go to Columbia [University], someone is presumably paying him one way or the other, whether it's his parents, offshore fund or something else, to keep him going in the [United] States.”
Bo is currently living in New York, where he is enrolled in law school at Columbia University.
Bo Xilai's wife, Gu Kailai, is at the center of one of the most sensational scandals to rock China's Communist Party.

  • Did not dispute charges she murdered British businessman Neil Heywood
  • Charged with the murder of British businessman Neil Heywood
  • Worked as a successful lawyer before retiring as her husband's career took off
  • Wrote a book about her experience helping Chinese companies win a U.S. legal battle
  • Daughter of a prominent Communist leader
Since the political scandal involving his parents surfaced, his mother Gu Kailai has been convicted of murdering British businessman Neil Heywood. His father has been in detention while authorities prepare for one of the biggest trials of a Communist Party official in decades.
In his letter, Bo said that if his own well-being has been traded in return for his father’s acceptance of charges against him and his mother’s cooperation, the verdict in the trial would carry no moral weight.
Media reports have suggested that Gu Kailai could appear as a witness against Bo Xilai in the trial this week in exchange for a guarantee of her son’s protection.
Bo Guagua also said that his mother suffered a “sudden collapse of her physical health in 2006” without elaborating. During her trial, Chinese state-backed media said Gu Kailai blamed her 2011 killing of Neil Heywood on a mental breakdown. 
“He [Bo Guagua] says 2006, which is a bit like trying to plead for her not to have been found guilty of the murder of the man she claimed to have murdered," Goodman said. "That is before he was murdered, if he was murdered.” 
Goodman added that there is really no way to know the truth about Heywood’s death unless authorities provide fuller access to information about Gu Kailai.
China’s state media announced the date for the trial on Sunday and have been playing up what it has called the open trial of Bo. No immediate mention of Bo’s letter to the Times was mentioned in Chinese media reports on Tuesday.
The New York Times is blocked in China.  But, there were some comments to be found on social media sites, such as China’s Twitter-like Weibo service.  Those that had not already been censored focused on Bo Guagua himself, raising questions about how he could afford his life overseas.
One weibo user wondered how Bo could afford to go to such a costly university as Columbia given that his mother is unemployed and father’s previous salary was less than $20,000 a year.
In the wake of the scandal, Bo Guagua’s privileged life overseas and playboy-like lifestyle has been widely discussed on social media sites in China. The opportunities children of high-ranking Chinese officials have overseas is a source of resentment among the general public in China and a frequent topic online.

Photo Gallery: The Bo Xilai Scandal

  • In this photo released by the Jinan Intermediate People's Court, Bo Xilai is handcuffed and held by police officers as he stands at the court in Jinan, in eastern China's Shandong province, Sept. 22, 2013.
  • A minivan believed to be carrying Bo Xilai arrives at the Jinan Intermediate People's Court ahead of the fifth day of Bo's trial, August 26, 2013. 
  • In this image taken from video, Bo Xilai addresses a court at Jinan Intermediate People's Court in eastern China's Shandong province, Aug. 24, 2013.
  • A woman protests outside the Jinan Intermediate People's Court, eastern China's Shandong province, August 21, 2013.
  • Gu Kailai, wife of Bo Xilai, is seen in a still image taken from an August 10, 2013 video provided by the Jinan Intermediate People's Court.
  • Policemen are seen at a court building where the trial for Bo Xilai was held in Jinan, Shandong province.
  • Former police chief Wang Lijun speaks during a court hearing in Chengdu, China, in this still image taken from CCTV video, Sept. 18, 2012.
  • This video image taken from CCTV shows Gu Kailai, wife of Bo Xilai, being taken into the Intermediate People's Court in the eastern Chinese city Hefei, August 9, 2012.
  • Police officers stand guard at the Hefei City Intermediate People's Court for the murder trial of Gu Kailai, Anhui Province, China, August 9, 2012.
  • A  combonation photo showing Neil Heywood and Gu Kailai.
  • Bo Xilai, walks past Communist Party leaders at the National People's Congress in Beijing, March 9, 2012.
  • Bo Xilai, right and his son, Bo Guagua, 2007.

You May Like

Video In US, Columbus Day Still Generates Controversy

Holiday marks date Columbus discovered Americas, but some are offended by legacy because he enslaved many natives he encountered More

Video Through Sports, Austria Tries to Give Migrants Traction

With 85,000 people expected to claim asylum in Austria this year, its government has made integration through joint physical activities a key objective More

Video Kickboxing Champion Shares Sport With Young Migrants

Pouring into Europe by hundreds of thousands, some migrants, especially youngsters, are finding sports a way to integrate into new host countries More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
by: chinese from: china
August 20, 2013 11:42 PM
there has never been fair in any chinese court, from the very beginning of it! For so many years, Bo is one of the few chinese top leaders who have taken huge advantage of this unfair system! Even today, Bo is still taking this advantage, just not that huge, as his son, who himself should face fair trial in a chinese court, is still at large!

by: dG from: NYC
August 20, 2013 7:03 PM
BOO HOO for Bo and his family, Welcome to the Chinese Communist Party that you where a part of! Did Ai Wei Wei or Liu Xiaobo get a fair trail?? They did nothing! Answer is no. We need to send Bo Guagua home to China instead he is living the high life here in the US speeding stolen money!

by: Anonymous
August 20, 2013 4:49 PM
the china have more and more problems in folk and government between. but china armies power still growth in south-sea and east-sea of pacific ocean. USA of policy rebalance of pacific asian must added all allies to joint to defense power for against russia and china in pacific waters no matter what kind of cooperation with allies

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Amnesty Accuses Saudi Coalition of ‘War Crimes’ in Yemeni
Henry Ridgwell
October 12, 2015 4:03 PM
The human rights group Amnesty International has accused the Saudi-led coalition of war crimes in airstrikes against Houthi rebels in Yemen. Henry Ridgwell reports the group says hundreds of civilians have been killed in strikes on residential areas.

Video Amnesty Accuses Saudi Coalition of ‘War Crimes’ in Yemen

The human rights group Amnesty International has accused the Saudi-led coalition of war crimes in airstrikes against Houthi rebels in Yemen. Henry Ridgwell reports the group says hundreds of civilians have been killed in strikes on residential areas.

Video No Resolution in Sight to US House Speaker Drama

Uncertainty grips the U.S. Congress, where no consensus replacement has emerged to succeed Republican House Speaker John Boehner after his surprise resignation announcement. Half of Congress is effectively leaderless weeks before America risks defaulting on its national debt and enduring another partial government shutdown.

Video New Art Exhibit Focuses on Hope

Out of struggle and despair often comes hope. That idea is behind a new art exhibit at the American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore, Maryland. "The Big Hope Show" features 25 artists, some of whom overcame trauma and loss. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.

Video Columbus Day Still Generates Controversy as US Holiday

The second Monday of October is Columbus Day in the United States, honoring explorer Christopher Columbus and his discovery of the Americas. The achievement is a source of pride for many, but for some the holiday is marked by controversy. Adrianna Zhang has more.

Video Anger Simmers as Turks Begin to Bury Blast Victims

The Turkish army carried out new air strikes on Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) targets on Sunday, a day after the banned group announced a unilateral cease fire. The air raids apparently are in retaliation for the Saturday bombing in Turkey's capital Ankara that killed at least 95 people and wounded more than 200 others. But as Zlatica Hoke reports, there are suspicions that Islamic State is involved.

Video Bombings a Sign of Turkey’s Deep Troubles

Turkey has begun a three-day period of mourning following Saturday’s bomb attacks in the capital, Ankara, that killed nearly 100 people. With contentious parliamentary elections three weeks away, the attacks highlight the challenges Turkey is facing as it struggles with ethnic friction, an ongoing migrant crisis, and growing tensions with Russia. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Video Afghanistan’s Progress Aided by US Academic Center

Recent combat in Afghanistan has shifted world attention back to the central Asian nation’s continuing civil war and economic challenges. But, while there are many vexing problems facing Afghanistan’s government and people, a group of academics in Omaha, Nebraska has kept a strong faith in the nation’s future through programs to improve education. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Omaha, Nebraska.

Video House Republicans in Chaos as Speaker Favorite Withdraws

The Republican widely expected to become the next speaker of the House of Representatives shocked his colleagues Thursday by announcing he was withdrawing his candidacy. The decision by Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy means the race to succeed retiring Speaker John Boehner is now wide open. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.

Video German, US Officials Investigate Volkswagen

German officials have taken steps to restore some of the reputation their car industry has lost after a recent Volkswagen diesel emissions scandal. Authorities have searched Volkswagen headquarters and other locations in an effort to identify the culprits in the creation of software that helps cheat on emission tests. Meanwhile, a group of lawmakers in Washington held a hearing to get to the bottom of the cheating strategy that was first discovered in the United States. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Why Are Gun Laws So Hard for Congress to Tackle?

Since taking office, President Barack Obama has spoken out or issued statements about 15 mass shootings. The most recent shooting, in which 10 people were killed at a community college, sparked outrage over the nation's gun laws. But changing those laws isn't as easy as many think. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.

Video In 'He Named Me Malala,' Guggenheim Finds Normal in Extraordinary

Davis Guggenheim’s documentary "He Named Me Malala" offers a probing look into the life of 18-year-old Malala Yousafsai, the Pakistani teenager who, in 2012, was shot in the head by the Taliban for standing up for her right to education in her hometown in Pakistan's Swat Valley. Guggenheim shows how, since then, Malala has become a symbol not as a victim of brutal violence, but as an advocate for girls’ education throughout the world. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.

Video Paintable Solar Cells May Someday Replace Silicon-Based Panels

Solar panels today are still factory-manufactured, with the use of some highly toxic substances such as cadmium chloride. But a researcher at St. Mary’s College, Maryland, says we are close to being able to create solar panels by painting them on a suitable surface, using nontoxic solutions. VOA’s George Putic reports.

VOA Blogs