News Column

Bo Xilai Denies Charges, Calls Wife 'Mad'

August 23, 2013

Deposed regional leader Bo Xilai told a Chinese court that his wife had suffered from mental illness, as he rejected all charges against him on the second day of his trial Friday for corruption and abuse of power.

"She has changed, she is mad, [and] always lies," Bo told the court in eastern China's Jinan city after prosecutors aired video testimony in which his wife, Gu Kailai, discussed financial and other help to the family by businessman Xu Ming.

"The personnel handling the case gave her huge pressure and asked her to implicate me, when she has psychological problems," Bo said of Gu.

"Kailai used to tell me that when she killed Neil [Heywood], she was heroic," Bo said.

Gu was handed a suspended death sentence in September for the murder of British citizen Heywood, an associate of the family who Gu said had demanded money and threatened her son, according to official reports of her trial.

Bo, 64, was accused of accepting some 3.5 million dollars in bribes from Xu Ming and another businessman in his former power base in the north-eastern city of Dalian.

On Friday, the second day of his trial, Bo also rejected as "nonsense" prosecutors' evidence about corruption from his former police chief, Wang Lijun.

Wang was sentenced to 15 years in prison in September after he was convicted of corruption, abuse of power and other offences.

The Jinan court heard another charge on Friday that Bo embezzled some 5 million yuan (820,000 dollars) from public funds.

The two-day trial of Bo, a powerful former Communist Party leader of the Chongqing region, is seen as politically motivated by his supporters. State media said a verdict is expected in early September.

On Thursday, Bo said his earlier confession to corruption had been involuntary under pressure from the party's disciplinary commission.

He also rejected a written statement by Gu as "ridiculous."

But in a sign that Bo is likely to be found guilty despite rejecting the charges, a commentary by People's Daily, the Communist Party's official newspaper, said the prosecutors' evidence on Thursday was "detailed, reliable ... and conclusive."

The commentary said the court's publishing of transcripts of proceedings online "reflects legal openness and transparency, and satisfies the public's right to know."

Bo's fall caused one of the party's biggest internal rifts since the 1989 military crackdown on democracy protests.

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Video of Gu Kailai's testimony is available here.





Source: Copyright 2013 dpa Deutsche Presse-Agentur GmbH


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