Bo Xilai Wife Arrested for Murder
Today’s Financial Times of London reports that Gu Kailai, the wife of former Chongqing Party boss Bo Xilai, was arrested for the murder of British businessmen Neil Heywood.
According to Chinese authorities, Ms. Gu and family servant, Zhang Xiaojun, are “highy suspected” of the poisoning death of Heywood in his Chongqing hotel room on November 15th, 2011. They have been “transferred to judicial authorities”.
This is one more twist to the remarkable saga of the sudden downfall of one of China’s most revered and powerful leaders.
It reveals rampant corruption at the highest levels of government in the country soon to replace the United States as the world’s largest economy.
The Chain of Events
Niel Heywood, 41, a British businessman is found dead in his hotel room. Authorities claim he died of “excessive alcohol consumption” and his body is quickly cremated without an autopsy.
Wang Lijun, Chongqing police chief and Mr Bo’s right-hand man is demoted in a “mafia crackdown” power struggle.
Wang Lijun arrives 170 miles away at the US Consulate in Chengdu and asks for political asylum. Bo Xilai dispatches 70 carloads of his security forces that surround the consulate building.
Mr Wang leaves the US Consulate escorted by Chinese central state security authorities and flown to Beijing.
Before the 2012 annual National People’s Congress in Beijing, Bo Xilai admits to “negligent supervision” and that he “trusted the wrong person”.
Mr Bo is removed as Chongqing’s Communist Party Chief in the biggest shakeup in Chinese government in two decades.
UK formally asks the Chinese government to reopen the investigation into Heywood’s death.
Mr. Bo is removed from the Politburo and Ms Gu is arrested on suspicion of murder.
According to the Financial Times:
Mr Bo’s spectacular downfall constitutes the biggest political crisis faced by the ruling party since the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre
According to China’s People’s Daily, Bo Xilai was dismissed because:
Bo Xilai’s conduct has seriously violated the party’s disciplinary rules, damaging the affairs of the party and the country, and badly harming the image of the party and country
Who Was Bo Xilai?
He was one of the 200 members of the Politburo, the second most power ruling body in China. He was next in line to become a member of China’s 9-member Politburo Standing Committee. That IS the most powerful ruling body in China.
Bo Xilai was a ruthless “red culture” reformist, but an effective leader that kept Chongqing’s GDP growth rate consistently above 10% each year.
Neil Heywood is said to have had close ties to Bo Xilai; but why he was murdered and why Bo’s wife is accused is not yet known. It may never be known.
Wang Lijun is still being held by Chinese authorities. He provided extensive testimony implicating Ms. Gu and the family servant in Heywood’s murder by poisoning.
Mr Wang still faces charges of treason for attempting to defect. It remains unknown whether he will be tried or given leniency for his cooperation.
It is highly likely none of this would ever have seen the light of day if not for the 24 hours Wang spent at the US Consulate spilling his guts to anyone who would listen.
And THAT is the scary part!