World News

    China Releases Video Testimony of Ousted Politician Bo's Wife

    A Chinese court trying former Communist Party politician Bo Xilai has released video testimony of his wife in an attempt to bolster the claim that he knowingly accepted bribes.

    In the pre-recorded, 11-minute video, Gu Kailai said her husband was aware that a wealthy businessman had given the family gifts, including airline tickets, expensive seafood and cash.

    Bo, who is also charged with embezzlement and abuse of power, has vigorously denied the bribery allegations. On Thursday, the first day of the trial, he dismissed his wife's testimony as "laughable."

    The official Xinhua news agency says Bo on Friday denied his wife's testimony by doubting her mental condition. It says he claimed "she is mad and always tells lies."

    It is the first time Gu has been seen since she was convicted last year of killing a British businessman over a failed financial dispute, in a scandal that eventually led to Bo's dramatic downfall.

    VOA Mandarin Service's Fred Wang, who is watching the trial from a media center near the court in the eastern city of Jinan, says the prosecution is trying to use Gu's testimony to weaken Bo's case that he was not aware of her dealings.



    "Can you just by these facts make a conclusion that Bo Xilai took a bribe? I don't know. It's kind of yes and no. But Bo Xilai's wife's testimony testimony will damage her husband's reputation."



    Government-run microblogs on Thursday gave a real-time account of the proceedings and posted court transcripts, providing an unexpected level of transparency for a sensitive trial that is one of the country's most closely watched in decades.

    Wang says that information largely dried up as the second day of the hearing began, possibly because Chinese authorities were concerned about the level of public attention given to Bo's defiance of authorities.



    "This (trial) is very popular. Three hundred million people are probably watching on Weibo. I think there might be a disagreement among the top leaders, so that is why there was nothing the whole morning."



    The trial is not televised and foreign journalists have been barred, though 19 members of state media have been allowed inside. Foreign media have been relegated to watching official microblogs and selectively released videos on large-screen television from a nearby hotel.

    Analysts say China's top political leaders almost certainly decided beforehand that Bo will be found guilty and receive a lengthy prison sentence, as in other sensitive political trials in China.

    Steve Tsang with Britain's University of Nottignham tells VOA that this will not likely change, even if Bo manages to present a convincing case.



    "A trial of a former Politburo member is of such importance to the Communist Party, that it is above the pay grade of any judge in China to be put in charge of. The verdict will have to be agreed on beforehand by the Politburo or the Standing Committee. Bo Xilai knows that."



    Bo's downfall began last February when his police chief, Wang Lijun, fled to the U.S. consulate in Chengdu. There, he told American diplomats about Bo's alleged role in covering up his wife's murder of British businessman Neil Heywood.

    A former Politburo member, Bo was stripped of his political posts and kicked out of the Communist Party shortly after the scandal erupted. His wife was later given a suspended death sentence.

    Thursday's hearing saw Bo firmly reject charges that he accepted millions of dollars in bribes over the course of several years from a real estate developer in the eastern city of Dalian.

    Bo retracted an earlier confession about the bribery, saying his "mind was a blank" and he did not fully understand the charges against him. He also attacked the testimony of the developer, calling him a "crazy dog" and saying the developer was trying to frame him for the crime.

    Thursday's trial was the first time the 64-year-old Bo had been seen in public since his arrest in March, 2012. A picture released by the court showed him standing somberly, his hands folded, next to two policemen in the dock.

    State broadcaster CCTV originally reported that the trial will only last two days and that a verdict is expected in early September.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trendi
    X
    May 27, 2016 5:57 AM
    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.
    Video

    Video Meet Your New Co-Worker: The Robot

    Increasing numbers of robots are joining the workforce, as companies scale back and more processes become automated. The latest robots are flexible and collaborative, built to work alongside humans as opposed to replacing them. VOA’s Tina Trinh looks at the next generation of automated employees helping out their human colleagues.
    Video

    Video Wheelchair Technology in Tune With Times

    Technologies for the disabled, including wheelchair technology, are advancing just as quickly as everything else in the digital age. Two new advances in wheelchairs offer improved control and a more comfortable fit. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Baby Boxes Offer Safe Haven for Unwanted Children

    No one knows exactly how many babies are abandoned worldwide each year. The statistic is a difficult one to determine because it is illegal in most places. Therefore unwanted babies are often hidden and left to die. But as Erika Celeste reports from Woodburn, Indiana, a new program hopes to make surrendering infants safer for everyone.
    Video

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Communities in the U.S. often hold festivals to show what makes them special. In California, for example, farmers near Fresno celebrate their figs and those around Gilmore showcase their garlic. Mike O'Sullivan reports that the wine-producing region of Temecula offers local vintages in an annual festival where rides on hot-air balloons add to the excitement.
    Video

    Video US Elementary School Offers Living Science Lessons

    Zero is not a good score on a test at school. But Discovery Elementary is proud of its “net zero” rating. Net zero describes a building in which the amount of energy provided by on-site renewable sources equals the amount of energy the building uses. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, the innovative features in the building turn the school into a teaching tool, where kids can't help but learn about science and sustainability. Faith Lapidus narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora