Rome (AsiaNews) - The trial of Kailai Gu, the wife of Bo Xilai, former chief of Chongqing and Politburo member, began this morning in the rain in Hefei, the capital of Anhui, and concluded without any verdict being given. It has been called the "trial of the century" given the rarity of seeing the wife of one who was among the most powerful politicians in China, brought before the courts. It can only be compared to the trial against the third wife of Mao, Jiang Qing, in the case of the Gang of Four, that put an end to Marxism-Leninism in the country.
Gu Kailai, along with her butler Zhang Xiaojun are accused of having poisoned the British businessman Neil Heywood, once considered a "family friend". The murder took place last November, while Bo Xilai still held the reins in Chongqing and was planning to join the Politburo Standing Committee.
The official version that Heywood died from having imbibed too much alcohol, turned into suspicion of murder after Wang Lijun, chief of police and Bo's right-hand man, sought asylum last February at the U.S. consulate in Chengdu. Since then, it has all come crashing down: in March, Bo was discharged from the post of Party secretary of Chongqing and placed under investigation for generic "disciplinary irregularities", in April, his wife was accused of murder.
The trial, that date of which was set a few weeks ago, has some oddities, indicative of the way in which justice is practiced in China:
Analysts believe these factors indicate that the trial will not reveal any sudden twists. Especially since the body was immediately cremated and Heywood is the only "remains" left is a piece of his heart that Wang Lijun removed prior to the cremation.
The judgment seems to have been already written: Gu Kailai will be found guilty, but the motive for the murder will help her escape the death penalty, the murder will be seen as separate to the economic crimes so as not to involve Bo Xilai (and with him the whole Party ) in crimes of corruption.
Another important fact is that the trial promises to be fast. Originally ot was thought that it would last tow to three days. Instead it was immediatly concluded, even if the verdict is expected in the coming days. In any case the Party is in a hurry to turn the page on and hide this ugly chapter to prepare for the Congress in the autumn, where they will elect new members of the Central Committee Politburo, from which Bo is now excluded.