Chinese Communist "princeling" Bo Xilai, expected by many to take a key leadership position in the leadership transition of 2012, was expelled from the Communist Party in September after a career that saw him as Mayor of Dalian City, Minister of Commerce and Party Chief of the Chongqing municipality. His wife Gu Kailai received a suspended death sentence in August 2012 for murdering British business partner Neil Heywood.
Bo Xilai's trial (day 2): Bo says wife 'crazy', perjured against him under duress
9.25pm Businessman Xu Ming, the Bo family friend, paid off a credit card debt of 335,400 yuan for Bo Xilai's son Bo Guagua between November 2011 and January 2012, according to testimony by Gu Kailai and Xu Ming. Bo's earlier written confession, dated June 28, 2012 also recognised that Xu was a close family friend and Bo was aware that he had provided "generous" funding support for Gu and Bo Guagua over the years.
However, Bo in court this afternoon denied he had any knowledge about the credit card payment, and said he had asked the court to exclude his written confession last year as "illegal evidence."
6.51pm: The prosecution cites Gu Kailai's earlier testimony as saying that Bo knew about his son's trip to Africa and that he knew that the expenses were covered by Xu Ming. Gu said that she remembered Guagua telling stories of the trip to Bo Xilai and her upon his return. Guagua also brought them gifts from Africa including "a piece of meat from a very exotic animal", she reportedly said. The travel expenses for six people amounted to US$130,841. The costs included costs for a chartered flight from Dubai to Kilimanjaro airport in Tanzania.
6.37pm: Bo said that he had twice requested Gu Kailai to take the stand as a witness. Presiding judge Wang said that Gu had been asked by the court to the take the stand, but that she had refused to do so. As Bo's wife, she legally has the right to refuse to serve as a witness to the trial.
6.31pm: The court releases transcripts from earlier today.
6.27pm: The court will continue hearing Bo's trial on Saturday, 8.30am.
Gu Kailai's testimony shown in court earlier today:
6.21pm: According to Xu's testimony presented by the prosecution, Xu not only paid for Guagua's flights to Britain, but also for private trips, including one to Germany for the Soccer World Cup, to Cuba, to Argentina, to an unspecified country in Africa, to Paris and to Venice. Xu also said that he paid for the travel expenses of a delegation of 40 people from Harvard University visiting Shanghai, Chongqing and Beijing in March 2011.
6.10pm: The court releases an earlier transcript. The proscecution shows evidence that Xu Ming spent 3.2 million yuan for flight tickets for Gu Kailai, Bo Guagua and their close friends between 2003 and 2007. According to Gu Kailai's testimony presented by the prosecution, Xu Ming paid for air tickets and other expenses of a vice-principal of Guagua's school and one of his teachers' entire family as well as more than 40 fellow students and friends.
5.46pm: Two sources close to the Bo family say that the trial is likely to end by Saturday evening.
5.43pm: CCTV corrects its translation of Bo Xilai's comment on Wang Lijun from "bulls***" to "nonsense".
#BoXilai trial to continue Saturday, per multiple sources.
— Steven Jiang (@StevenCNN) August 23, 2013
5.35pm: The prosecution asks the court to call a witness to provide testimony on the charges of embezzlement.
5.32pm: Bo's lawyer dismisses Wang Lijun's testimony as "speculative".
5.28pm: Bo's lawyer reiterates that the conversation between Bo and Xu Ming at the Ministry of Commerce's driveway in 2004 could not have taken place, because Xu Ming only later obtained a car permit to enter the ministerial compound. Xu said on Thursday that he already had such a permit at the time.
5.25pm: Bo's lawyer argues that the Gu's testimony shows that she was "in a confused state of mind".
5.23pm: Court releases another transcript.
If you're been sentenced to life, why would u sign a testimony against your husband? To protect your free son?
— Jordan Pouille (@jordanpouille) August 23, 2013
So Patrick Devilliers ended up with, and presumably still has, 100pc ownership of the Cannes villa. Quelle chance!
— malcolmmoore (@MalcolmMoore) August 23, 2013
So at the heart of the cronyism, bad blood and murder that brought down Bo Xilai was...real estate.
— Chris Buckley 储百亮 (@ChuBailiang) August 23, 2013
5.09pm: China Central Television reporter says Bo gave "contradictory testimony" earlier today.
5.04pm: The court says that it has now moved on to assessing the charges of embezzlement of five million yuan.
4.58pm: The Legal Daily, a national paper, interviewed Meng Fanhu, a lawyer, who attended the trial. The newspaper quoted the legal expert as saying that Bo's denial of the charges would not be enough to exonerate him.
— Phoenix TV News UK (@PhoenixUKNews) August 23, 2013
4.09pm: The court resumes the hearing.
3.48pm: The court rests for 15 minutes.
3.41pm: Bo's lawyer says that the testimony by Gu was inadmissible, because she was taking medication. The prosecution counters that the testimony was given when she was in custody and off medication. The defence says that the prosecution could not prove ownership of the shell companies and the property by Gu Kailai.
3.15pm: Bo said that Gu made her statement under mental pressure and is motivated by her hope for leniency.
3.10pm: Bo said that Gu compared herself to the assassin Jing Ke in the Chinese folk tale on his way to assassinate the king of Qin, the later first emperor of China.
3.09pm: Bo said that Gu was "crazy" and lied often.
3.05pm: Bo refuted the allegation put forward by Xu Ming's testimony that Bo asked him to keep the property secret.
2.55pm: Bo dismissed Wang Lijun's testimony as "nonsense".
2.52pm: Bo Xilai says that Gu Kailai's testimony is "fabricated".
2.49pm: Wang Lijun said in his testimony that Gu was quarrelling with Heywood between July and September 2011. Bo told him that Gu had health issues and told him to let Heywood and Devillers manage their assets overseas.
2.45pm: Wang said that he recalled Gu being angry, because Heywood allegedly owed her several million yuan in rent income from the property. He said that Gu had told him that Heywood made seven to eight million yuan a year in rent, but failed to transfer the money.
2.39pm: Wang Lijun said in his testimony that Heywood had told him that Bo had confidence in Heywood.
2.36pm: Court releases Wang Lijun's testimony.
2.27pm: According to Gu Kailai's testimony, after she decided in 1999 to send her son Guagua to school in Britain, she asked Xu Ming to finance the property in Cannes. Over the next decade, Patrick Devillers helped her build a complex holding structure involving multiple shell companies to ensure Gu's control of the property and but also to make sure it couldn't be traced back to the family.
2.08pm: According to the French architect Patrick Devillers' written testimony to the court last year, Neil Heywood was very angry with Gu Kailai for asking to transfer his stake in the French property to another person and demanded £1.4 million as compensation in May 2011. He had previously been entrusted by Gu to hold the stake on her behalf.
2.06pm: The court resumes the hearing.
1.54pm: Liu Hu, a reporter with the Modern Express, has been detained in Chongqing today around noon by men, who identified themselves as Beijing police, according to a colleague. Liu Hui has reported on cases of corruption. His Sina Weibo Account has also been suspended. It is unclear whether the detention is related to Bo's trial.
here's Bo Xilai's family villa in France, on CCTV. pic.twitter.com/Crze4mBE7L
— FAN Wenxin (@xinwenfan) August 23, 2013
Transcript today completely one-sided. Was Bo given any chance to talk?
— Valentina Luo (@valentinaluo) August 23, 2013
1.25pm: Bo Xilai is emotionally stable, is physical condition is normal, a court spokesperson tells the media in a press briefing at the nearby Jihua Hotel.
1.09pm: At the beginning of the second day the hearing, presiding judge Wang calls on Bo to mind his language and respect proceedings.
1.06pm: The prosecution showed the court a PowerPoint presentation of the French villa allegedly made by Gu Kailai in 2002 and shown to Xu Ming and Bo Xilai.
1.03pm: Gu said in her January testimony that when Bo Guagua received threats in 2011, she compiled a list of suspects which included Heywood. She said she had shared her concerns with Bo Xilai. She said that Wang Lijun "was very much aware of the fact that Neil Heywood wanted to go the US to harm Guagua". In the second half of 2011, Guagua had told her that Heywood was threatening her, Gu said. Wang Lijun was present when Guagua told Gu about the threat, she said. This led to the "November 15 incident", she said, referring Heywood's murder in Chongqing.
12.55pm: Court releases a transcript of Friday's proceedings. According to the transcript, the prosecution alleges that Bo told Xu Ming when they met at the Ministry of Commerce driveway in 2004 to keep silent on the matter of the villa in France. The prosecution quotes Gu's testimony from January 2013, saying that Bo had seen photos of the villa in 2002 and that he had praised her for renovating it nicely, calling her an "artist". She said that she told Bo about the villa. She said that she told him that the investment would guarantee their son Bo Guagua's financial safety abroad.
Asked whether Bo Xilai knew Neil Heywood, Gu said in her testimony in January that Bo had never spoken to Heywood, but seen him, when he accompanied Bo Guagua to Chongqing once.
12.15pm: The court rests until 2pm.
12.12pm: Gu Kailai said that she told Bo Xilai about the payments Xu Ming made for Bo's son Guagua. Gu was not asked nor did she provide new information on the villa in France. She laughed when asked whether the interrogation has been made under duress.
12.10pm: Gu Kailai says that Bo "should know" about flight tickets and Bo Guagua's Segway electric vehicle paid for by Xu Ming. She evaded a question on whether she had directly told him about the payment of flight tickets.
12.03pm: People's Daily releases the video testimony by Gu Kailai in a Sina Weibo. Court also releases the video in a Sina Weibo post. The video is dated August 10.
11.55am: Observers have expressed their surprise over the lack of information provided by the Jinan Intermediate People's Court on Friday morning. Unlike Thursday, the court has not shared transcripts of the proceedings as yet on the second day of the historic trial.
Little progress in rule of law since Gang of Four trial, writes Cary Huang.
11.01am: Mainland and Hong Kong media say they have identified one of the members of the audience as Gu Kailai's sister Gu Wangjiang. A source close to the family says that the person is not Gu Wangjiang, but family confidante Wang Li.
11.00am: Unlike Thursday, the court has not yet released transcripts of the proceedings today.
Screenshot of an ad in the Henan Commercial Daily advertising classes in oratorial skills:
10.36am: Bo Xilai's successor as Chongqing party secretary, Sun Zhengcai, pledges to "resolutely resist costly image projects" in a municipal party meeting on Thursday, according to the Chongqing Morning Post.
10.26am: Court resumes hearing.
10.09am: The court rests for 15 minutes.
10.11am: Full translation of the statement by Bo's first son Li Wangzhi released yesterday evening.
I’d like to thank the Party leadership and the court for giving the defendant more defense rights and freedom than expected, making it possible for my father to speak the truth. I’d also like to thank those who refused to perjure themselves against my father despite the huge pressure they faced. As his son, I feel sorry for his pain, yet at the same time proud of his strength.
After an investigation that lasted more than 500 days and involved more than 300 people, [my father] endured great tests, but persists in his real thoughts. What I would like to say is, first, real gold can stand the test of fire, as truth can stand the test of history. Second, I am proud of my father. I hope my father continues to respect the law, and the law can respect the truth, and give the people a explanation, give the history an explanation. I hope he could give his son an explanation.
9.52am: Interview with Pin Ho, co-author with Huang Wenguang of a book about Bo Xilai called A Death in the Lucky Holiday Hotel.
9.43am: Chen Youxi, a prominent lawyer and legal scholar who had been critical of Bo’s rule in Chongiqng, praised Thursday’s trial in a long analysis published online.
The importance of Bo’s trial surpasses other political trials in the history of the People’s Republic, wrote Chen. Those include the trial of the “Gang of Four” after the Cultural Revolution, as well as senior Communist Party officials such as former Beijing mayor Chen Xitong and ex-Shanghai mayor Chen Liangyu.
“In trial procedures, [Bo’s trial] is a real trial, not a show [like the others],” he wrote.
Chen praised the transparency and fairness of the first day’s trial, saying all the court officials appeared professional and compliant with the letter and spirit of the law.
“This shows the rule of law in China has basically be established,” according to Chen.
In Chen’s opinion, Bo’s vehement defence against charges of embezzlement and bribery-taking were still “pale and powerless,” as he focused on denying having knowledge of any of the corrupt deals. The chain of evidence clearly shows that Bo’s family benefited from these deals, writes Chen, and recent judicial interpretations in China have already made it possible to convict a person in such “bribery for influence” situations even though he or she may not directly involved.
Chen faulted the prosecution for failing to charge Gu Kailai, Bo’s wife, for taking bribery from Bo’s underlings and business associates. “It is a major failure in the investigation and prosecution,” he wrote.
Also, Chen said Bo should have been charged with a fourth count of crime, which is covering up the murder of Neil Heywood. Instead of “abuse of power,” of which prosecution is accusing Bo in the murder of Heywood, Chen says the crime should be attempting to cover it up.
9.38am: Netizens speculate about Xu Ming's weight loss.
9.30am: Hong Kong's Ta Kung Pao publishes the complete transcript released by the court over four pages in its Friday edition.
9.26am: Bo's first wife Li Danyu and their son Li Wangzhi are at the trial, Beijing Evening News says on a subsidiary website.
— Angus Walker (@anguswalkeritv) August 23, 2013
9.19am: Bo's court transcript is by far the most widely read news item on the popular news aggregator site Netease: 24.9 million views overnight.
9.18am: The website of the People's Daily, the Communist Party's main newspaper, publishes a commentary today, arguing that evidence of Bo's crimes is "irrefutable".
9.13am: Xu Ming's testimony yesterday: Prosecution cites Gu Kailai's testimony from December 2012: Xu Ming offered her to finance the acquisition and renovation of the French villa. Total costs amounted to US$3 million.
9.06am: Xu Ming's testimony yesterday: Bo said he supported Xu's business ventures, because Xu was a "capable private entrepreneur".
8.52am: Xu Ming's testimony yesterday: Bo dismissed evidence put forward by the prosecution on the charges related to Dalian Shide Group and Xu's testimony as "circumstantial'.
8.50am: Xu Ming's testimony yesterday: Xu said that he was told by Wang Lijun that Bo Xilai had been informed by Wang about Gu Kailai's crimes.
8.39am: The trial hearing resumes.
— ST Foreign Desk (@STForeignDesk) August 23, 2013
8.35am: Further information from Xu Ming's testimony: Xu said he introduced Wang Lijun to Gu Kailai.
8.30am: Motorcade carrying Bo Xilai arrives at court.
8.26am: Xu Ming says he had met Bo through Gu Kailai. Xu said he did not have private meeting with Bo in Dalian.
8.24am: Xu Ming says that Gu Kailai has never provided legal advice, which would justify financial transactions.
8.20am: In further transcripts released overnight by the court, the prosecution's witness Xu Ming says that there was no written agreement about the villa in France he financed for Bo's wife Gu Kailai. He said that Gu Kailai first approached him asking for payment of flight tickets, later Bo' son Guagua and the family confidant Zhang Xiaojun handled transactions.
8.15am: Vehicles arrive at the courthouse.
8.00am: Our live coverage of Bo Xilai's trial at the Jinan Intermediate People's Court in the Shandong provincial capital continues. The hearing scheduled to resume at 8.30am.
Map: Bo Xilai's career moves and the family's known properties
View Bo Xilai in a larger map