Saturday, August 4, 2012

China’s Charming tiger, hidden dragon: Gu Kailai to go into the dock

Ousted Chongqing chief Bo Xilai (c), with his wife Gu Kailai (l), and son Bo Guagua (r), in an undated photo. EYEPRESS NEWS

Gu Kailai has been many things to many people: devoted wife, ambitious lawyer, gracious host, menacing businesswoman and, now, China's most famous murder suspect.
The wife of the ousted politician Bo Xilai may go on trial in the next few days, after being charged with the murder of the British businessman Neil Heywood, who was a close associate of the Bo family. The scandal has highlighted divisions in the Chinese leadership before a momentous political transition later this year.

Gu Kailai

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
 (born 15 November 1958) is a Chinese lawyer and businesswoman. She is the second wife of former Chinese Politburo member Bo Xilai, one of China's most influential politicians until he was stripped of his offices in 2012. Gu has been charged with the murder of a British businessman, Neil Heywood.
Gu is the youngest of five daughters of General Gu Jingsheng, a prominent revolutionary in the years before the Chinese Communist Party took power.General Gu held various government positions during early Communist rule but was imprisoned during the Cultural Revolution. Gu Kailai herself was also punished, being forced to work in a butcher's and a textile factory.
Gu met Bo Xilai in 1984 while on a field trip looking into environmental art in Jin County, Liaoning, where he was the communist party secretary. The couple have one son, Bo Guagua, who studied at Harrow School and Balliol College, Oxford. Guagua went on to study at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government.
Gu Kailai gained her degree in law and then a masters in international politics from Peking University.
She went on to become an accomplished lawyer founding the Kailai law firm in Beijing.In the course of her career, she was involved in several high-profile cases, and is suggested to have been the first Chinese lawyer to win a civil suit in the United States, where she represented several Dalian-area companies involved in a dispute in Mobile, Alabama.She is also the author of several books.

Murder investigation

In March 2012, Gu became embroiled in a national scandal after her husband's deputy, Wang Lijun, apparently sought refuge at the U.S. consulate in Chengdu. It was rumored that Wang presented evidence of a corruption scandal, whereby Bo sought to impede a corruption investigation against Gu.[ Specifically, Wang stated that Gu had been involved in a business dispute with British businessman Neil Heywood, who died in Chongqing under disputed circumstances; Wang alleged he had been poisoned. The Wall Street Journal reported that Wang may have fallen out of favor with Bo for discussing the Heywood case.
Following the Wang Lijun incident and Bo's removal from key Communist Party posts, Gu was placed under investigation for homicide in Heywood's death. On 10 April 2012, Gu was detained and "transferred to the judicial authorities" as part of the investigation. In an unusual move, state media appended her husband's surname in front of her own (rendering her name as Bo Gu Kailai) in an official press release regarding the Heywood case, contrary to the convention for married women in PRC. The appending of Bo's surname implied that Gu had acquired Singaporean residency, or citizenship of another foreign country, and that as a result "Bo Gu Kailai" appeared on her official documents.[Others suggest that this is because authorities wanted to emphasize that Gu's alleged crimes were linked to misconduct by her husband.
On 26 July 2012, Gu Kailai was formally charged with murdering Heywood, based on what the prosecutor claimed was "irrefutable and substantial" evidence

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