The rise and fall of Bo Jilai and Gu Kailai [Updated]

April 15, 2012


The fast-changing story is being updated here. An earlier post reviewed the accounts of the political demise of charismatic leader Bo Jilai and the prosecution of his wife and one-time celebrity lawyer Gu Kailai, for the alleged murder of British businessman Neil Heyward, a friend of Bo.

The updated post draws on a wider set of information sources, including links with Chinese language sites where English language translations are available.

November 8th 2012

WEstern news reports indicate link between murdered businessman Neil Hayward and British security forces

October 26th 2012

Bo expelled from Parliament but unlikely to stand trial before upcoming elections

October 22nd 2012

Interesting debate on a wide range of issues , including the Bo Jilai affair

September 28th 2012

Bo Jilai expelled from the Chinese Communist party . Western reports drawing on sources within China suggest that dealing with Bo Jilai has become a major consideration within efforts to arrange a smooth transition to new leadership.

September 24th

The story continues with the trial and conviction of Chongqing police chief Wang Lijun for 15 years in prison finding him guilty of “bending the law for selfish ends, defection, abuse of power and bribe-taking.”

August 2012

The post has been updated to report the series of events leading to Gu’s arrest for murder, and her being given a suspended death penalty. There is little news of Bo Jilai. Commentators inside China suggest there is little public coverage, and little sympathy for the victim who is portayed as involved in a financial scam or blackmail extorting money from Gu Kailai.

May 10th

Francis Fukuyama speculates that Bo was ousted on fears he might become ‘the next Mao’

The Indian Express challenges theory of Chinese resilient autocracy. (effective succession planning)

May 9th

Korea Times argues that the tensions in China including the Bo Xilai case may lead to ‘recalibrating’ of foreign policy towards North Korea

May 7th

New York Times evaluates Bo Xilai as brilliant…ruthless…[with a ] penchant for power and glory [which] earned him powerful enemies.

May 6th

More rumours of the defection of Police chief Wang which triggered the Bo Xilai political downfall.

[Posted in advance of cover date, May 14th by Time Magazine]. An in depth analysis argues that China’s move to technocratic leadership is becoming re-politicised

May 4th

Bo Xilai and Chen Guangchen stories examined by Voice of Russia for Eurasiaview

May 3rd

Thoughtful analysis of ‘The Bo Xilai crisis’ by The Toronto Star

May 1st

Western sources appear to contradict the story of Bo Guagua and the red Ferrari .

April 30th

Gu Kailai asked a British firm to accept a secret £150,000 over-payment and to use the money to pay her son’s school fees at Harrow, a former company director alleges

April 28th The Western media have shown diminished coverage of the Bo Xilai story. Attention has switched to his wayward son Bo Guagua. There is also some mention of Guagua’s half brother Li Wangzhi.

April 27th

Bo Guagua: Not a Ferrari but a Porsche says Wall Street journal

Details of the driving offences from the English version of Elenco Notizie, Italy.

April 26th

Western news reports claim Bo was involved in phone monitoring of China’s top politicians including President Hu Jintao

April 25th

Police chief Wang Lijun had told US officials that Mrs Gu was directly involved in Heyward’s murder by cyanide

Bo Guagua defends his life style in Harvard newsletter but avoids reference to the broader Bo Xilai story

April 24th

Other stories seem to be supplanting this one for global interest. The BBC China Round Up gives a dozen other URLs but no mention of the Bo Xilai one.

April 22nd

Reuters report [April 17th, 2012] China’s Bo backed, then blocked murder probe against his wife

April 21st

A US-based Chinese-language website that has reported extensively on the Bo Xilai scandal in China says it was crippled for several hours by a concerted hacking attack.

April 20th

A BBC TV report widens accusations against Bo Xilai.

April 19th

Business Week claims Bo Xilai Son Not in Custody, Remains at Harvard

NTV report based on Chinese websites examines mutual accusations between Bo Xilai and Chinese security chief Zhou Yongkang. Photo of Zhou from Xinhua via Want China Times, Taiwan

As state officials attempt to control the story, the Chinese blogosphere has devised its own coded language to circumvent censorship.

April 18th
Prime Minister David Cameron and politburo member Li Changchun hold constructive talks in London.

Foreign Minister issues written statement about the Heyward case and is quizzed in Parliament.

BBC updates its reporting

April 17th

Western reports turn attention to lavish lifestyle of Go and Gu’s son, Bo Guagua. Image is of a Ferrari which crashed in Beijing and was allegedly that of Bo Guagua.

The Shanghaist considers the (British) Daily Telegraph a good source of information on the developing story of “our favourite playboy”, and reports his possible asylum bid being helicoptered from Harvard.

The BBC reports that Prime Minister David Cameron will raise the issue of Mr Heywood’s death today at a meeting in Downing Street to discuss trade, cultural and education links with politburo member Li Changchun.

New York Times also reports on story

April 16th

English East Day outlines official Chinese statement on the way the investigation into Bo Xilai and the arrest of his wife Bogu Kailai has been conducted through the rule of law in China.

‘Unconfirmed’ reports in British tabloids such as the Daily Mail suggest Heyward had an affair with Gu Kailai

The Australian claims Heyward will be named a spy for MI6 based in contacts with intelligence gathering agency founded by former MI6 employee.

April 15th

Heyward’s death linked to murder by suicide

April 14th

More about the life style of Bo Guangua

April 13th

Freedomnewsgroup provides English language links of the developing story.

Daily Times of Pakistan reports that China has deleted thousands of online posts over ‘rumours’ and temporarily closed others for ‘rectification’.

A post from the Economist gives more background to the story

New York Times adds a few more details to earlier accounts

August 22nd

Bo Xilai goes on trial. A long-running drama reaches a critical stage.

Sept 22nd 2013

Bo Xi Lai trial trial ends with life sentence. Wall Street Journal assesses political implications


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