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
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.

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Comment Sorting
by: exposecuny from: new york
August 09, 2012 2:13 PM
There is another murder case need to be investigated. See: 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.

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