China held the trial of Bo Xilai¡¯s wife Gu Kailai on charges of murdering British national Neil Heywood. Top Chinese leaders gathered to prepare for the upcoming power transition. In spite of China¡¯s great performance at the Olympics, nationalists are enraged by ¡°anti-China conspiracy¡± in London. Top stories for the week of August 6, 2012 for the People¡¯s Republic of China
Gu Kailai trial for murder ends, verdict will be announced later
Gu Kailai, wife of ousted Communist Party Politburo member Bo Xilai, stood trial in Hefei City Intermediate People¡¯s Court in Anhui Province on August 9, not raising objections to charges against her of murdering British businessman Neil Heywood. According to the account of the trial issued by the court, Gu poisoned Heywood in a hotel room on November 13, 2011 under the impression that Heywood was threatening her son¡¯s personal security over economic disputes. Gu was assisted by Zhang Xiaojun in the murder, who was then an employee of Chongqing Municipal Party Committee and was also on trial on August 9. The official did not announce the date when the verdict will be released. Gu¡¯s husband, Bo Xilai, was not seen in the court. He is reportedly still detained incommunicado by the Party¡¯s disciplinary commission. Although Chinese state media describes the trial as an ¡°open¡± one, no foreign media were permitted to attend, save for the two British diplomats in the court.
Top Chinese leaders gather at Beidaihe to discuss succession
The chief power brokers of the Chinese Communist Party, including President Hu Jintao, arrived at a seaside resort in Beidaihe on August 5 and are holding closed-door political meetings ahead of the once-a-decade leadership transition later this year. The main goal of the gathering is reportedly to finalize the list of Chinese leaders for the next decade and to decide how to conclude the political scandal of the dismissed Politburo member Bo Xilai. Xi Jinping, believed to be China¡¯s next president, met some 60 ¡°renowned experts and grassroots talents¡± in Beidaihe on August 5, and heard their suggestions for the country¡¯s human resources programs, according to the Chinese state-run news agency.
China suspects ¡°anti-China conspiracy¡± in London, sympathy shown to injured Liu Xiang
China has continued to compete with the USA to top the medals table at the London Olympics this week, but suspicions of an ¡°Olympic anti-China conspiracy¡± are rising among Chinese people due to a string of controversies involving Chinese athletes. The alleged anti-China bias emerged, many Chinese believe, when western commentators aired suspicions about the fantastic performance of Chinese gold medal swimmer Ye Shiwen. Following this, a controversial article published in the scientific journal Nature implied that Ye used performance-enhancing substances; this sparked outrage among Chinese people, who saw it as evidence of western hostility towards a rising China. Even though Nature published an apology on August 6 to Ye and its readers, Chinese nationalist sentiment has continued in the face of the badminton match-fixing scandal in which the Chinese doubles champions were expelled and Chinese media coverage of ¡°unfair score¡± received by several athletes. However, when China¡¯s track and field superstar, 2004 Olympic gold medalist Liu Xiang crashed at the first barrier in his 100-meter men¡¯s hurdles heat on August 7 with an Achilles heel injury, his compatriots showed more sympathy and compassion than four years ago when Liu withdrew from the Olympic final in Beijing with the same injury. Instead of the scorn and criticism that met Liu four years ago, the majority of Chinese are now expressing their appreciation and support to the injured athlete via the nation¡¯s twitter-like microblog site.
Summaries by Christina Zhao, China Program intern at The Carter Center