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With China Trial Over, Focus Turns to Fate of Official
Wall Street Journal ^ | August 20, 2012 | Jeremy Page

Posted on 08/19/2012 11:37:06 PM PDT by nickcarraway

Gu Kailai, the wife of ousted Communist Party official Bo Xilai, was found guilty and given a suspended death sentence on Monday for the murder of British businessman Neil Heywood in the southwestern city of Chongqing last year, according to observers in the courtroom.

They said the Intermediate People's Court in the eastern city of Hefei gave Ms. Gu a death sentence with a two-year reprieve—a penalty that had been widely expected and is normally commuted to a life sentence in prison after two years of good behavior.

Zhang Xiaojun, a Bo family aide, was also found guilty but given a lighter sentence of nine years in prison for his role in the murder, the observers said. Neither plans to appeal, the state-run Xinhua news agency said on Monday.

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China Real Time: Internet Users React to Verdict The judgment is a key step in the party leadership's efforts to conclude its worst political scandal in more than two decades and paves the way for an announcement on how it plans to deal with Mr. Bo, the former Chongqing Party chief, according to analysts and Party insiders.

But party leaders are facing mounting public skepticism over the trial after friends of Mr. Heywood and prominent public figures in China pointed out omissions, ambiguities and contradictions in the official account of how and why Mr. Heywood was killed.

The Wall Street Journal was first to report earlier this year that U.K. officials had asked the Chinese government to launch an inquiry into the death of Mr. Heywood, a business consultant with close ties to the Bo family whose body was found in a hotel room in November in Chongqing, where Mr. Bo was party chief at the time.

(Excerpt) Read more at online.wsj.com ...


TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; Extended News; Foreign Affairs
KEYWORDS: bo; china; heywood

1 posted on 08/19/2012 11:37:21 PM PDT by nickcarraway
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