- Obama mulls support for Islamists in Syria, with conditions
- Obama ‘birther’ theories float, as Hawaii health director killed in crash
- U.S. drone faulted for killing 14 ‘innocent civilians’ at Yemen wedding
- GOP hopes taking shutdown off the table with budget deal will pay dividends
- Chinese Death Star: The moon cited as the perfect launch pad for ballistic missiles
- Help wanted: Homeland Security plagued by vacancies at the top
- We are not amused: Queen’s protection officers warned to keep ‘sticky fingers’ off the royal cashews
- Unleash the crossbows: Gov. Scott Walker creates new hunting season
- Bubonic plague kills 20 in Madagascar
- G-20 diplomats fell for hacker attack promising nude photos of former French first lady Carla Bruni
Ousted Chinese politician’s wife, aide charged in death
Case at center of political scandal
BEIJING — Prosecutors have charged the wife of ousted Chinese politician Bo Xilai and a family aide with the murder of a British businessman, the government said Thursday, pushing forward a case at the center of a messy political scandal that unsettled China’s leadership ahead of a delicate power transition.
The state-run Xinhua News Agency reported that the recently issued indictment said Mr. Bo’s wife, Gu Kailai, had a falling out with Briton Neil Heywood over money and worried that it would threaten her and her son’s safety. Mrs. Gu and the aide, Zhang Xiaojun, are alleged to have poisoned Mr. Heywood, the report said. His death in November was attributed initially to a heart attack or excessive drinking.
The brief report is the first official news that the case is proceeding since the announcement three months ago that Mrs. Gu and Mr. Zhang were being investigated, and that Mr. Bo was being suspended from the powerful Politburo for unspecified discipline violations. Unmentioned in the Xinhua report was any reference to Mr. Bo or a separate party investigation into him.
“To charge a Politburo member if he was involved in any way in the murder would have sullied the reputation of the Communist Party in ways that would have been too much for the leadership to handle,” said Joseph Fewsmith, a China politics specialist at Boston University.
Mr. Bo’s ouster and the investigation into his family presented the party leadership with its ugliest public scandal in nearly two decades. It exposed the bare-knuckled infighting that the secretive leadership prefers to hide and affirmed an already skeptical public’s dim view of corrupt dealings in the party.
News of Mrs. Gu’s prosecution signals that the leadership has closed ranks and reached a general agreement about the case, as well as arrangements to install a younger group of leaders at a party congress later this year.
“They have to try to show solidarity, because if they do not do that the consequences are alarming. It would undermine social stability” by sending a signal about divisions in the ranks, said Cheng Li, an elite politics specialist at the Brookings Institution in Washington.
By making the announcement on the eve of the London Olympics, the leadership also likely hopes that public attention will be absorbed watching the Chinese team, instead of circulating political gossip, Mr. Li said.
Given that the party congress is still unscheduled and likely several months away, the leadership has time to dispatch Mrs. Gu’s and Mr. Bo’s cases and allow public interest to flag in the interim, he added.Before his fall, Mr. Bo was one of China’s most powerful and charismatic politicians.
The son of a revolutionary veteran and party secretary of the metropolitan area of Chongqing, he was thought to be destined for a seat in the leadership’s inner sanctum, the Politburo Standing Committee.
By Mangosuthu Buthelezi
Memories of a long brotherhood tempered in common struggle
- House budget bargain faces Senate filibuster; Republicans line up to oppose
- Broncos-Chargers game ends with several stabbings
- Obama's Afghanistan experts stumped on U.S. death toll, war costs during hearing
- NAPOLITANO: A conspiracy so vast
- Kim Jong-un consolidating power or losing grip on North Korea's military
- Inside China: Ukraine gets nuclear umbrella
- Echoes of Cold War in Ukraine as Russia tries to rein in former Soviet satellites
- PRUDEN: The last living witnesses; they wore the yellow star and remember the Nazi terror
- American missing in Iran was CIA operative who went rogue - Washington Times#pagebreak#pagebreak
- Medicare pays full price for half-empty vials of medicine
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
Consummate traveler Todd DeFeo explores the unique stories that make destinations worth going to.
Covering the world of soccer, including the World Cup, Major League Soccer, D.C. United and the English Premier League and other interesting sporting events.
Born in 1930 in rural Missouri, Charles Vandegriffe, Sr., brings his time and place to the Communities.
Columns from Voices around the World talking about the events, people, politics and social issues that concern us wherever, and whoever, we are.
Extraordinary day at Redskins Park
White House pets gone wild!
Let it snow