China's high-profile murder trial opens

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Beijing, Aug 9: Disgraced Chinese politician Bo Xilai's wife, accused of murdering a British businessman, went on trial today in a high-profile case following a major political scandal that rocked the ruling CPC and cost her husband his job.

Bo's wife Gu Kailai, herself a former top lawyer, and her orderly Zhang Xiaojun were charged with the murder of British businessman and family friend Neil Heywood, who was poisoned to death in November last year. The murder trial is being held in Hefei city, even though Heywood's murder took place at Chongqing, to avoid any reprisals as Bo, 63, ruled the city when he was the head of the Communist Party of China's local unit and had built his support base.

Bo was considered a popular leader due to his strong campaigns against mafias, making the city crime free. Dozens of uniformed and plain-clothe policemen were stationed around the court building, where a convoy of black cars was seen arriving this morning, as the trial of 53-year-old Gu began, BBC reported.

British diplomats are being allowed to witness the trial but not foreign journalists. In her trial, Gu is being represented by state-appointed lawyers. State media reports last month had quoted prosecutors as saying that there was substantial evidence about her involvement. Some reports said she had even confessed to her involvement in the murder.

PTI

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