The wife of Bo Xilai jailed for murder of Heywood

Published:  21 Aug at 9 AM
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The wife of Chinese politician Bo Xilai, Gu Kailai, has been given a suspended death sentence after being found guilty of the murder of British expat Neil Heywood.

Mr Heywood, a British businessman, was found poisoned in November 2001 in his hotel room. Gu Kailal did not fight the charges set against her at the one-day trail that commenced on 9 August of this year. She was given a suspended death sentence, which in China usually results in life imprisonment. Her aide, Zhang Xiaojun, has been jailed for nine years.

Mr Bo is Chongqing’s former party chief and was rumoured to be a contender for a top-level national leadership position. Since the investigation into his wife was announced, he has not made any public appearances.

This has been the most high-profile case China has seen for years, and the courtroom was filled with security personnel for the verdict. The 9 August trial was not open to the public, but it was reported by the Chinese state media that Gu admitted to poisoning Heywood in a Chongqing hotel room with the help of her aide.

Gu says that Neil Heywood threatened her son during a disagreement over a property deal and it caused her to suffer a mental breakdown. The court believed that he did threaten Gu’s son but had not acted on it, and found that Gu had suffered psychological impairment as a result.

Police chief Wang Lijun, Bo Xilai’s deputy, fled to the US consulate last February to report information involving the case. Since then, Mr Bo has been taken away from his official post and is currently being investigated for discipline violations.

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