Econintersect: The wife of deposed mayor of Chongqing and former Politboro member Bo Xilai has been convicted of murder and sentenced to death. The sentence was then suspended, so presumably she will be imprisoned, probably for life, and not executed. Gu Kailai was convicted of poisoning British businessman Neil Heywood who was a close business associate. A household aide, Zhang Xiaojun, received a nine-year sentence as an accomplice.
The sentencing came less than one month after the indictment was announced (GEI News) and ten days after a one day trial in which Gu admitted her guilt. The fact that Heywood had died was first revealed on a Chinese microblog in March. The exact date of his demise has not been determined by Econintersect but it was sometime in November 2011. Once the connection between Heywood and Kailai were know, speculation raged as to what intrigue was involved.
Next for the Xilai/Kailai family is the disposition of any charges of misconduct (as yet nothing has been specified) against Bo Xilai who was purged in March. There is also speculation that Bo could be charged in connection to the murder as well.
- China’s Gu Kailai gets suspended sentence: witnesses (John Ruwitch, Reuters, 20 August 2012)
- China Intrigue: Political Power, Questions of Corruption – and Now Murder? (GEI News, 16 April 2012)
- China: Has There Been a Coup of a Coup? (GEI News, 01 April 2012)