News / Asia

    Gu Kailai Murder Trial Ends Without Verdict

    Purnell Murdock
    China's most politically explosive trial in recent memory ended in a matter of hours Thursday when Gu Kailai, the wife of disgraced Chinese politician Bo Xilai, did not object to murder charges against her.

    Court officials in the eastern city of Hefei gave no indication of when a verdict would be announced, but said Gu Kailai did not deny she was responsible for the murder of British business associate Neil Heywood.

    Hefei Intermediate Court spokesperson Tang Yigan accused Gu of poisoning Heywood, with the help of her family’s butler, Zhang Xiaojun, who also is on trial.

    China / Murder / Gu / HeywoodChina / Murder / Gu / Heywood
    x
    China / Murder / Gu / Heywood
    China / Murder / Gu / Heywood
    Fatal allegations

    Tang said Gu visited Neil Heywood in his hotel room on the evening of November 13, 2011. He said that after Heywood got drunk and vomited, she poisoned him using a substance Zhang Xiaojun had brought.

    The court spokesman said Gu’s defense lawyer argued Heywood was partially responsible. He said Gu was under the impression the British businessman was threatening to harm her son over some undefined “economic dispute.”

    Timeline of the Bo Xilai Scandal

    • Feb. 2:    Bo's key ally and Chongqing police chief Wang Lijun is demoted
    • Feb. 6:    Wang visits U.S. consulate in Chengdu, reportedly to seek asylum
    • Mar. 2:    Xinhua says Wang is under investigation
    • Mar. 9:    Bo defends himself and his wife, Gu Kailai, at a press conference at the National People's Congress
    • Mar.15:   Bo dismissed as Chongqing party chief
    • Mar. 26:  Britain asks China to investigate November death of Briton Neil Heywood in Chongqing
    • Apr. 10:  Bo suspended from Communist Party posts.  China says his wife is being investigated for Heywood's death
    • Apr. 17:  New York Times reports U.S. officials held Wang so he could be handed to Beijing authorities instead of local police.
    • Jul. 26:   Bo's wife, Gu kailai, charged with the murder of Briton Neil Heywood
    • August 9: Gu Kailai's trial begins in Hefei.
    No evidence has been made public, but the state-run Xinhua news agency described the evidence in the case as “irrefutable and substantial."

    Questions of fairness, timing

    Even before Gu's speedy, hours-long trial there were concerns about whether she would receive a fair defense, and few doubted she would be found guilty.

    The scandal comes at a sensitive time for China's Communist Party, which is set to undergo a rare leadership transition later this year. Many Chinese suspect Beijing officials are using the case as a way to wreck the charismatic Bo Xilai's political career.

    Analyst David Kelly, who heads the Beijing-based think tank China Policy, agrees. He said the trial is as much about Bo as about his wife.

    “It is seen that forces that are kind of beyond the individual are at play and she is, in a sense, a pawn in the game," said Kelly.

    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

    Bo's fate hangs in balance

    Some say Gu's conviction is a precursor to a possible criminal prosecution of Bo, who is being investigated by the Communist Party for corruption and obstruction of justice for not reporting what he knew about his wife’s crime. Bo is currently detained and has not been heard from in months.

    It is unclear how long it will take the court to announce a verdict, but both Gu Kailai and Zhang Xiaojun risk the death penalty for intentional homicide.

    • 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 For Many US Veterans, the Vietnam War Continues

    More than 40 years after it ended, war in Vietnam and America’s role in it continue to provoke bitter debate, especially among those who fought in it

    Video Newest US Citizens, Writing the Next Great Chapter

    100 immigrants graduated Friday as US citizens in New York, joining the ranks of 680,000 others every year in cities across country

    Family's Fight Pays Off With Arlington Cemetery Burial Rights for WASPs

    Policy that allowed the Women Airforce Service Pilots veterans to receive burial rites at Arlington had been revoked in 2015

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: exposecuny from: new york
    August 09, 2012 2:13 PM
    There is another murder case need to be investigated. See: http://exposecunyandpeterbookstein.blogspot.com/. This case maybe links a treason case of destroying Chinese National Reunification. It maybe also links to 911. Evidences are available! Hope to investigate and trial these. More information are available.

    by: Maoxiejung from: Uganda
    August 09, 2012 1:25 PM
    How could the same mobster gang execute their boss - The operation of China party is a mafia operation -It's impossible to tie them to criminals among each other of them . Ten of thousands people got murder without any notice to the public but in this case this is just their circus because the victim is a foreigner - lay with wild animals in their jungle in a heated games you'll got kill !!!!!.
    I won't go home .... I'd rather play a good guy here in Uganda until
    the good chance Uganda as our land as Singapore ( None of pimping business here yet though....just slowly invading as good workers of us ) - Best regards.

    by: Hilary from: DC.
    August 09, 2012 12:30 PM
    Gu Kailai killed more than one person. She is responsible for many lives. She and Heywood colluded in selling Chinese people's organ's and their bodies overseas for money. your reporter should try to learn more about China.

    by: Frankie Fook-lun Leung from: Los Angeles
    August 09, 2012 12:22 PM
    This trial is for foreign consumption, i.e. show for the British diplomats. No thrill. Nothing worth reporting.

    by: Gail from: Philadelphia
    August 09, 2012 11:12 AM
    It's not her. This is a fake Gu Kailai.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnami
    X
    Elizabeth Lee
    May 22, 2016 6:04 AM
    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnam

    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video First-generation, Afghan-American Student Sets Sights on Basketball Glory

    Their parents are immigrants to the United States. They are kids who live between two worlds -- their parents' homeland and the U.S. For many of them, they feel most "American" at school. It can be tricky balancing both worlds. In this report, produced by Beth Mendelson, Arash Arabasadi tells us about one Afghan-American student who seems to be coping -- one shot at a time.
    Video

    Video Newest US Citizens, Writing the Next Great Chapter

    While universities across the United States honor their newest graduates this Friday, many immigrants in downtown Manhattan are celebrating, too. One hundred of them, representing 31 countries across four continents, graduated as U.S. citizens, joining the ranks of 680,000 others every year in New York and cities around the country.
    Video

    Video Vietnam Sees Strong Economic Growth Despite Incomplete Reforms

    Vietnam has transformed its communist economy to become one of the world's fastest-growing nations. While the reforms are incomplete, multinational corporations see a profitable future in Vietnam and have made major investments -- as VOA's Jim Randle reports.
    Video

    Video Qatar Denies World Cup Corruption

    The head of Qatar’s organizing committee for the 2022 World Cup insists his country's bid to host the soccer tournament was completely clean, despite the corruption scandals that have rocked the sport’s governing body, FIFA. Hassan Al-Thawadi also said new laws would offer protection to migrants working on World Cup construction projects. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Infrastructure Funding Puts Cambodia on Front Line of International Politics

    When leaders of the world’s seven most developed economies meet in Japan next week, demands for infrastructure investment world wide will be high on the agenda. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push for “quality infrastructure investment” throughout Asia has been widely viewed as a counter to the rise of Chinese investment flooding into region.
    Video

    Video Democrats Fear Party Unity a Casualty in Clinton-Sanders Battle

    Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton claimed a narrow victory in Tuesday's Kentucky primary even as rival Bernie Sanders won in Oregon. Tensions between the two campaigns are rising, prompting fears that the party will have a difficult time unifying to face the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Portrait of a Transgender Marriage: Husband and Wife Navigate New Roles

    As controversy continues in North Carolina over the use of public bathrooms by transgender individuals, personal struggles with gender identity that were once secret are now coming to light. VOA’s Tina Trinh explored the ramifications for one couple as part of trans.formation, a series of stories on transgender issues.
    Video

    Video Amerikan Hero Flips Stereotype of Middle Eastern Character

    An Iranian American comedian is hoping to connect with American audiences through a film that inverts some of Hollywood's stereotypes about Middle Eastern characters. Sama Dizayee reports.
    Video

    Video Budding Young Inventors Tackle City's Problems with 3-D Printing

    Every city has problems, and local officials and politicians are often frustrated by their inability to solve them. But surprising solutions can come from unexpected places. Students in Baltimore. Maryland, took up the challenge to solve problems they identified in their city, and came up with projects and products to make a difference. VOA's June Soh has more on a digital fabrication competition primarily focused on 3-D design and printing. Carol Pearson narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora