Current Weather
The Spy FM

Guilt First, Trial Later: Murder Charge For Chinese Politician’s Wife

Filed by KOSU News in World News.
July 26, 2012

China’s Xinhua news agency ends its report this morning on the murder case against a prominent politician’s wife with this remarkable passage:

“Investigation results show that Bogu Kailai, one of the defendants, and her son surnamed Bo had conflicts with the British citizen Neil Heywood over economic interests. Worrying about Neil Heywood’s threat to her son’s personal security, Bogu Kailai along with Zhang Xiaojun, the other defendant, poisoned Neil Heywood to death.

“The facts of the two defendants’ crime are clear, and the evidence is irrefutable and substantial. Therefore, the two defendants should be charged with intentional homicide. The Hefei Intermediate People’s Court has received the case according to law, and will hold a trial on a day to be decided.”

So, presumed guilty first; trial later.

If you’re just catching up on this story, as The Associated Press writes, “the wife of ousted Chinese politician Bo Xilai and a family aide have been charged with the [November 2011] murder of a British businessman, the government said Thursday, pushing ahead a case at the center of a messy political scandal that exposed divisions in China’s leadership.”

The New York Times reminds readers that “authorities in Chongqing originally attributed Mr. Heywood’s death to excessive drinking, but a scandal unfolded after Wang Lijun, the city’s police chief and a trusted associate of the elder Mr. Bo, sought refuge in the American consulate in Chengdu, a city not far from Chongqing. Mr. Wang stayed overnight, reportedly revealing details of the crime to consular officials. Mr. Wang, who was said to be fearful of Mr. Bo’s wrath, left the consulate in the custody of officials from Beijing. He remains in custody.”

According to the BBC, “the exact nature of Mr. Heywood’s role and his relations with the Bo family are unclear and have been the subject of much speculation inside and outside China. At the very least, there were close business contacts between the Bo family and Mr. Heywood.”

NPR’s Louisa Lim tells our Newscast Desk that the story is “China’s biggest political scandal in decades” and comes as party leaders are trying to prepare for a power transition this fall. She says there is “no official word on the fate of Bo Xilai,” the politician. Up until recently, as Louisa has reported, Bo Xilai “had seemed headed straight for China’s top leadership body, the Politburo Standing Committee.” He was party secretary in the major southern city of Chongqing until he was removed from that post in March.

Note: Xinhua referred to her as Bogu Kailai, but NPR.org follows the AP and other news outlets who refer to her as Gu Kailai. [Copyright 2012 National Public Radio]

Leave a Reply

12AM to 5AM The Spy

The Spy

An eclectic mix of the Spy's library of more than 10,000 songs curated by Ferris O'Brien.

Listen Live Now!

5AM to 9AM Morning Edition

Morning Edition

For more than two decades, NPR's Morning Edition has prepared listeners for the day ahead with two hours of up-to-the-minute news, background analysis, commentary, and coverage of arts and sports.

View the program guide!

9AM to 10AM The Takeaway

The Takeaway

A fresh alternative in morning news, "The Takeaway" provides a breadth and depth of world, national and regional news coverage that is unprecedented in public media.

View the program guide!

Upcoming Events in your area (Submit your event today!)

Streaming audio and podcasts

Stream KOSU on your smartphone

Phone Streaming

SmartPhone listening options on this page are intended for many iPhones, Blackberries, etc. with low-cost software applications available to listen to our full-time web streams, both News on KOSU-1 and Classical on KOSU-2.

Learn more about our complete range of streaming services

We're perfecting the patient experience - Stillwater Medical Center