(BEIJING) — The murder of a British businessman by the wife of an ousted Chinese politician was supposed to be an open-and-shut case, by the government’s account. The victim threatened the life of Gu Kailai’s son. Gu poisoned the Briton, was caught and confessed. End of story.
Not so fast. The trial proceedings, and official statements about them, have failed to clarify glaring omissions in the case.
Legal and political scholars say much of the case has been implausible, leaving major questions unanswered, not least of which is whether the victim posed any real threat to Gu’s son at all. Also, why would a high official’s wife carry out such a murder herself? Where is Bo Xilai, the alleged murderer’s husband and man at the center of the messiest scandal in two decades to rock the Chinese leadership?
The government account depicts Gu as a depressed woman on medication who turned willful murderer after Briton Neil Heywood threatened the safety of her son, Bo Guagua. Gu lured the victim to a hotel in Chongqing, got him drunk then poured cyanide into his mouth. It says Gu and her co-defendant “confessed to intentional homicide” and appeared repentant in court last Thursday during a speedy, seven-hour trial.