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More questions than answers after five-day Bo Xilai trial
Publication Date : 28-08-2013
Ahead of the trial of disgraced Chinese leader Bo Xilai, many had hoped that it would throw up some answers about the events that led to his spectacular downfall.
Instead, the five-day hearing which ended on Monday threw up only more questions, following revelations of an alleged love triangle and dysfunctional ties at the heart of the Bo household.
For example, were Bo and his wife Gu Kailai so distant that he had no idea that she was accepting bribes behind his back?
Yet, court transcripts revealed that Gu was able to influence his decisions when he was Chongqing party boss; for instance, she sat in during an emergency meeting to deal with the defection of his right-hand man Wang Lijun last year.
Wang's escape to the American consulate in Chengdu city, next door to Chongqing, helped expose Gu's murder of British businessman Neil Heywood in 2011 and sparked Bo's political demise.
The 64-year-old went on trial on charges of abuse of power as well as embezzling and taking bribes totalling nearly 27 million yuan (US$4.4 million).
What the transcripts also revealed was that the Bos' marriage was a rocky one, with Wang appearing to be a third party.
Bo told the Jinan intermediate court last Saturday that Gu left him to live in Britain with their son Guagua from 2000 to 2007, after discovering his infidelity.
On Monday, he dropped the bombshell that Wang had betrayed him by professing his love for Gu and slapping himself in front of her.
"Gu Kailai said: 'You're a bit abnormal.' He (Wang) said: 'I was in the past but now I'm normal'," Bo said.
In her written testimony, Gu noted that the incident took place on February 2 last year. Wang, who was Chongqing police chief at the time, was weeping and slapping himself when Bo walked in on them and grabbed a letter Wang had written to her.
Bo told the court: "He intruded into my family. He had utterly hurt my feelings."
Wang got to know the Bo family in the early 2000s when Bo was governor of Liaoning province. Wang was introduced by Dalian businessman Xu Ming to Gu and followed the family from Liaoning to Chongqing.
Wang, 53, later grew so close to Gu, 54, that Bo often asked him to counsel "Fifth Brother", as Wang called Gu, for reasons not known.
On one occasion in 2009 or 2010, Bo got Wang to call Guagua to get him to talk to Gu, who was angry that her son had got a girlfriend.
According to Bo, Gu also told Wang, who was tasked with ensuring Guagua's safety in the United States where he studied, about killing Heywood.
Wang was one of a few who could freely enter Building No. 3, the official residence of Bo.
"Can you tell me who else from the Chongqing party or municipal government visited Building No 3 regularly besides you?" Bo asked Wang pointedly during cross-examination last Saturday.
"I don't know. But I went often," said Wang, who turned up in a wheelchair after suffering a stroke earlier, said Hong Kong's South China Morning Post.
Bo said he felt Wang had betrayed Gu by telling him that she had killed Heywood.
It is still not clear why Wang and Gu, who Bo said were close as glue, fell out. It is also not clear who forced Wang to flee to the American consulate.
It was Bo, said Gu. He had a bust-up with Wang and barred him from visiting his mother, she added.
Bo pointed his finger at Gu, who sent Wang 60 to 70 threatening notices and seized his belongings.
It is hard to tell who is speaking the truth. As Bo said again and again in court: "It's a farce."