Chicago Tribune - 1 hour agoHEFEI, China (Reuters) - A Chinese court sentenced the wife of ousted Politburo member Bo Xilai to death on Monday but suspended her ...Fox News - 2 hours ago
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China's Gu Kailai gets suspended death sentenceCombination photo shows British businessman Neil Heywood and Gu Kailai, wife of China's former Chongqing Municipality Communist Party Secretary Bo Xilai (Stringer China, Reuters )
HEFEI, China (Reuters) - A Chinese court sentenced the wife of disgraced Politburo member Bo Xilai to death on Monday but suspended her execution, ending one chapter in a scandal that has shaken the ruling Communist Party ahead of a leadership transition later this year.
The sentence means Gu Kailai is likely to face life in jail for murdering British businessman Neil Heywood last year, provided she does not commit offences in the next two years.
"The verdict is just and reflects a special respect toward the law, reality and life," Gu said of the sentence, according to a spokesman for the court, Tang Yigan.
"The court determined that Bogu Kailai is guilty of murder and sentenced her to death with a two year reprieve, with her political rights revoked for the remainder of her life," Tang told reporters after the hearing in the eastern city of Hefei, referring to Gu by her formal name.
At a trial on August 9, Gu admitted to poisoning Heywood in November, and alleged that a business dispute between them led him to threaten her son, Bo Guagua, according to official accounts published by state media.
The spokesman Tang said the court had concluded that Heywood made threatening words against Bo Guagua, but had never acted on those words. The court also found that Gu's actions reflected a "psychological impairment", which he did not specify.
The court also said Zhang Xiaojun, an aide to the Bo household, was sentenced to nine years in prison for acting as an accomplice to the poisoning of Heywood.
"Neil Heywood indeed threatened Bo XX through words, exacerbating the conflict, but there was no evidence confirming that he took harmful actions against Bo XX," said Tang, referring obliquely to Bo Guagua.
"Therefore the argument of the defendants of Bogu Kailai and Zhang Xiaojun does not stand and the court rejected the argument."
Gu's sentencing could be a prelude to formal punishment of Bo Xilai, a brashly ambitious politician under investigation for alleged violations of party discipline -- an accusation that covers corruption, abuse of power and other misdeeds. After the party leadership decides on those allegations, Bo Xilai could also face criminal charges related to the murder case.
Bo's hopes for securing a spot in China's next top leadership unraveled after his former police chief, Wang Lijun, fled to a U.S. consulate in early February for about 24 hours and exposed the murder allegations.
BRITAIN WELCOMES TRIAL
Britain's embassy in China said in an e-mailed statement that it welcomed the "fact that the Chinese authorities have investigated the death of Neil Heywood and tried those they identified as responsible".
It added that Britain had "consistently made clear to the Chinese authorities that we wanted to see the trials in this case conform to international human rights standards and for the death penalty not to be applied".
Bo, the son of a revolutionary, ran the southwestern city of Chongqing where Heywood was killed. Bo was seen as competing for a place in the Politburo Standing Committee, the body at the pinnacle of power in China, at a once-in-a-decade leadership transition later this year.
His downfall has stirred more division than that of any other leader for over two decades. To leftist supporters, Bo was a charismatic rallying figure for efforts to reimpose party control over dizzying, unequal market-led growth.
But he made powerful enemies among those who saw him as an opportunist who wanted to impose his policies on the country.
Bo was sacked as Chongqing boss in March and Gu was publicly accused of the murder in April, when Bo was suspended from the Politburo, a 25-member elite council that ranks below the Standing Committee. He has yet to be expelled from that council.
Four Chinese policemen have also admitted to charges that they sought to protect Gu from investigation -- a development that could also prove dangerous for Bo.
Police sources in Chongqing have said Bo tried to shut down the investigation into his wife after being told she was a suspect. Bo has not been seen in public since March, when he gave a combative defense of his policies and family at a news conference during China's annual parliament session.
(Additional reporting by Samuel Shen in HEFEI, Chris Buckley and Benjamin Kang Lim in BEIJING; Editing by Mark Bendeich and Raju Gopalakrishnan)end quote from:http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/sns-rt-us-china-trialbre87j01w-20120819,0,3468735.storyI can't begin to tell you why She was given a suspended Death Sentence. Possibly, it was because if she was executed since her husband was a very high leader comparable to J. Edgar Hoover in the U.S. government in the past that other higher ups in the Chinese Communist party would have also felt vulnerable to potential execution in the future to execute one of their own that high up on the ladder of Chinese leadership.In all governments precedent is always extremely important. Because what affects one leader now can affect all leaders at some time in the future. For example, Mao's wife after he passed on was convicted as being one of the Gang of Four. Whether she was really guilty of anything or just guilty of being Mao Tse Tung's wife is anyone's guess.