BEIJING – China's official Xinhua News Agency published an unprecedented 3,400-word article Friday on the murder trial of Gu Kailai, the wife of disgraced politician Bo Xilai. The story breaks the near-total silence that state-run media had maintained on the case and appears to show the government is preparing for an imminent conviction. Gu has not spoken publically and no international media outlets were allowed into her trial that took place Thursday in the eastern city of Hefei.
Here are excerpts from the report:
— More than 140 people attended ... including relatives and friends of the two defendants, relatives and friends of British victim Neil Heywood, diplomats from the British embassy and consulates in China, media representatives, deputies to China's legislature and members of China's political advisory body, as well as members of the general public. ... The trial lasted about seven hours.
— The defendants (Gu and accomplice Zhang Xiaojun) made statements on the facts presented in the indictment and confessed to intentional homicide. ... China's Criminal Law, which fully guarantees each citizen's right to life and health, has stipulated severe penalties for intentional homicide.
— (Gu) accepted all the facts written in the indictment, saying, "This case has been like a huge stone weighing on me for more than half a year. What a nightmare ... I am grateful to the humanitarian care shown to me by those who handled the case. I solemnly tell the court that in order to maintain the dignity of the law, I will accept and calmly face any sentence and I also expect a fair and just court decision."
— (Gu) testified that after she and her son, surnamed Bo, became acquainted with Heywood, she introduced him to serve as a proxy to a company and participate in the planning of a land project, which never got started. Heywood later got into a dispute with (Gu) and her son over payment and other issues, and he threatened her son's personal safety.
— In court, prosecutors presented emails exchanged between Heywood and Bo, showing how the dispute between the two had escalated. According to the evidence prosecutors brought to court ... (Gu) believed Heywood had threatened the personal safety of her son and decided to kill Heywood. "To me, that was more than a threat. It was real action that was taking place. I must fight to my death to stop the craziness of Neil Heywood," according to (Gu's) testimony.
— (Gu) and Zhang visited Heywood's hotel, bringing along the two bottles (one with cyanide and the other with drugs), as well as wine and tea. After entering Heywood's hotel room, (Gu) drank wine and tea with him while Zhang waited outside. Later, Heywood became drunk and fell in the hotel bathroom, and then (Gu) called Zhang into the hotel room and took the glass bottle of cyanide compound that Zhang was carrying.
— Zhang said in his testimony that he put Heywood on the hotel bed. After Heywood vomited and asked for water, Gu Kailai put the bottle of cyanide compound she had prepared into Heywood's mouth. Then she scattered the capsulated drugs on the hotel floor, making it seem as though Heywood had taken the drugs.
— (Forensic psychiatrists who evaluated Gu's mental state concluded she) had been treated for chronic insomnia, anxiety and depression, and paranoia in the past. She used to take anxiolytics, antidepressants and sedative hypnotic drugs, and she also received combined treatment by taking antipsychotic drugs, but the curative effect was not enduring. She developed a certain degree of physical and psychological dependence on sedative hypnotic drugs, which resulted in mental disorders.
— However, (Gu) had a clear goal and a practical motive in committing the alleged crime. Preparations were made prior to the alleged criminal act, including, for example, asking for poison from others and storing the poison, planning to take the victim to Chongqing and arranging the location for committing the alleged crime, among others.
— The public security department ... conducted 394 interrogations of the witnesses and people involved in the case and put together 212 evidence documents totaling 1,468 pages in 16 volumes.
— Zheng Xiaoyan, a deputy to the National People's Congress who attended the court hearing, said the public intentional homicide trial of (Gu) and Zhang indicates that China is a socialist country governed by law. The dignity and authority of the law brook no violation. Zheng said everyone is equal before the law, so nobody is entitled to any privilege.