News / Asia

China's Gu Given Suspended Death Sentence for Murder

Gu Kailai (C), wife of ousted Chinese politician Bo Xilai, stands at the defendant's dock during her trial at Hefei Intermediate People's Court in this still image taken from video, August 20, 2012.
Gu Kailai (C), wife of ousted Chinese politician Bo Xilai, stands at the defendant's dock during her trial at Hefei Intermediate People's Court in this still image taken from video, August 20, 2012.
William Ide
BEIJING — A court in China has sentenced the wife of disgraced politician Bo Xilai to death for the murder of British businessman Neil Heywood. Gu Kailai's death sentence comes with a two-year reprieve, which means that she is most likely to face life in prison for the crime that has sent shockwaves through China's political system.
 
Gu Kailai’s suspended death sentence comes shortly after her speedy seven-hour trial earlier this month, which was held in the eastern Chinese city of Hefei.
 
During her trial, Gu reportedly admitted to pouring the poison down Neil Heywood’s throat after he threatened her son over a business deal gone sour.
 
Tang Yigan, a court official in Hefei, spoke with reporters Monday about the ruling.
 
Tang says the judicial review of the case found that Gu has the capacity to be considered criminally responsible even though she was suffering from some psychological disorders. Tang says that while her control was weakened, she had complete capacity to know the nature and consequences of the crime she committed.
 
In addition to Gu, Zhang Xiaojun, an aide of the Bo family, was charged with helping poison Heywood. He was sentenced to nine years in prison.
 
Tang says Gu Kailai avoided an immediate death sentence because she provided the court with clues to other people’s illegal activities and played a positive role in the investigation of related cases. He says the court did not, however, accept Gu’s claims that Heywood’s threats against her son Bo Guagua drove her to murder him.
 
Tang did not say what information Gu had provided the court or with or what other cases he was referring to.
 
Typically when a suspended death sentence is handed down in China, it is converted to life in prison after two years.  Neither Gu nor Zhang are appealing their sentences, Tang says.
 
A lawyer representing the family of Neil Heywood says he will speak with them about the verdict, but does not know if they will lodge an appeal.
 
Although the ruling in Gu’s case closes the door on the investigation into the murder, questions remain about the future of her husband Bo Xilai.
 
Bo was removed from his post as the Communist Party’s boss in the southern city of Chongqing earlier this year after the city’s former chief of police, Wang Lijun, accused Bo’s wife of murder.
 
Wang Lijun’s dramatic flight to the U.S. consulate in Chengdu in February first brought details about the murder to light. He is also expected to be tried, however it is still unclear when his trial will be held and what charges he could face.
 
Some political analysts believe that the trial against Gu and others is but a prelude to more formal punishment for Bo.
 
China’s political leadership is the midst of a once in a decade political reshuffle.
 
In addition to Monday’s sentencing of Gu and the family aide, four police officers from the southern city of Chongqing were also sentenced in Hefei and found guilty of attempting to cover up the murder.

You May Like

Myanmar Fighting Poses Dilemma for China

To gain some insight into conflict, VOA’s Steve Herman spoke with Min Zaw Oo, director of ceasefire negotiation and implementation at Myanmar Peace Center More

Australia Concerned Over Islamic State 'Brides'

Canberra believes there are between 30 and 40 Australian women who have taken part in terror attacks or are supporting the Islamic State terror network More

Recreational Marijuana Use Now Legal in Washington, DC

Law allows adults 21 and over to privately possess and smoke 0.05 kilogram of pot, and to grow small amounts of the plant More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: anthony from: jinan
August 20, 2012 9:03 PM
anyhow i think that BO MUST ENTER HIGHER POSITION,

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