If you're a China correspondent, you're likely in Jinan, Shandong province right now, where disgraced former Chongqing Party Chief Bo Xilai, 64, will stand open trial for corruption tomorrow at the Jinan Intermediate People's Court. Let's have a peek at all the fun.
On August 11, Ann Heywood, the mother of murdered British businessman Neil Heywood, issued a statement that appeared in the Wall Street Journal. ("The full text of a statement," according to WSJ.) "Given the circumstances of Neil's murder, I have been surprised and disappointed that, despite repeated discreet approaches to the Chinese authorities, there has been no substantive or practical response," she wrote. (It was then reported that the family was asking for $5 million in compensation.)
In a two-paragraph statement to the New York Times, Bo Guagua -- the son of Bo Xilai and Gu Kailai, convicted last August of murdering British businessman Neil Heywood -- said he has been denied contact with his parents for the past year and a half, and hopes his father gets a chance to defend himself at his trial that is scheduled for Thursday.
With each day that we still wait for the trial of Bo Xilai to begin, it becomes a little easier to forget what this is all about. Politics, economics, how it affects Xi Jinping's reforms, and shuanggui, yes, all very interesting, but at the heart of the matter is a murder -- the poisoning of British businessman Neil Heywood -- and a high-level cover-up that has already resulted in two people -- former Chongqing police chief Wang Lijun and Bo Xilai consort Gu Kailai -- being given (essentially) 15-year sentences.
Not only has the Bo Xilai trial still not happened, but the public hasn’t seen him in 11 months. When we do finally glimpse him (though at this point, it might be if, not when), indications are he’ll look remarkably different from before. That’s because Bo Xilai has a “chest-length beard.”
There’s no question Bo Xilai has had an eventful year, directly responsible for outrage, consternation, confusion, exhilaration, and joy (he was manna from heaven for China’s foreign correspondents). As Time’s Austin Ramzy writes, “Bo was favored to win a seat on China’s all-powerful Politburo Standing Committee this fall after having boosted his popularity by reviving Mao-era... Read more »
The Sunday Times, in its now-famous (or infamous) piece on Neil Heywood (still paywalled, but it's here if you want to purchase), alluded to a certain Channel 4 documentary on the man. Quote: "After a year-long investigation for Channel 4's Dispatches, based on numerous conversations with friends, business colleagues, diplomatic sources and a Chinese contact who knew both Heywood and the Bo family intimately, we can reveal the real Neil Heywood."
In a 3,600-word piece, Cathy Scott-Clark and Adrian Levy of Britain’s The Sunday Times lay bare the myth of Neil Heywood. They argue that far from being an intrepid power broker living astutely within the inner circles of China’s elite, the murdered Briton was a “failed businessman,” a “chancer,” an “irritant,” and a liar who... Read more »
Neil Heywood was likely feeding information to British intelligence officers while in the inner circle of Bo Xilai, according to Jeremy Page of the Wall Street Journal. From the very beginning of this saga, we’ve known that Heywood — poisoned by Gu Kailai, as the consensus goes — has been connected to MI6, Britain’s Secret Intelligence Service,... Read more »
If you thought Bo Xilai was expelled from the Communist Party of China in September, you’re only half right. (Okay, 99 percent right.) Today it was made official after a meeting of 500 top party officials in Beijing in what must have been the easiest decision they’ll make this month. Nothing now stands in the way... Read more »