China’s Show Trial Harms the Party by Showing Too Much
Gu Kailai claims she had mental breakdown before killing Neil Heywood
If China’s leaders expected that the speedy trial of Gu Kailai, the wife of the disgraced Chongqing party chief Bo Xilai, would put a stop to the speculation, they were gravely mistaken. Instead of dispelling the mysteries surrounding the murder of British businessman Neil Heywood and the purge of Mr Bo, the one-day trial of Ms Gu last week only deepened suspicions.
Beijing might have hoped that a carefully staged trial would help to polish its public image. But the public reaction indicates that the Communist Party’s prestige sustained another blow.
Mr Bo’s fall from grace in March came after the Chongqing police chief, Wang Lijun, sought asylum at a US consulate. In April, Chinese authorities implicated Ms Gu in the murder of Heywood. But more than these embarrassing incidents, the Bo scandal has highlighted weaknesses in the ruling Communist Party and poorly hidden fractures at the top.
Apparently, this show trial had multiple objectives.