Gu Kailai reveals son Bo Guagua’s jet-setting lifestyle in testimony
No one knows a man better than his own mother, goes an old Chinese saying. And Gu Kailai - wife of disgraced princeling Bo Xilai - vividly recounted the jaw-dropping luxury university lifestyle of her son, Bo Guagua, during her testimony, as well as others, during her husband's trial.
Having spent many of his formative years abroad, Bo is a high-end frequent flyer, shuttling between China, Britain and the US at least three times a year.
He loves to travel, and has visited Venice, Argentina, Cuba, Paris and Africa, and Germany in 2006 for the soccer World Cup.
As a loyal friend, he generously covered the air fares for his friends, mainly foreigners, who were put up at the Grand Hyatt hotel, Fairmont Beijing and other five-star hotels when visiting the capital.
According to Gu, her son invited more than 40 people from Harvard University to China in 2011, including friends, a vice-president and academics at the university. Xu Ming, the Dalian property tycoon, paid for the trip.
From 2004 to 2012, Xu paid over 3.2 million yuan (HK$4 million) for the younger Bo and Gu's travelling expenses. His trip to Africa in August 2011 cost Xu more than US$100,000. Xu accompanied Bo on that trip because of Gu's security concerns.
Guagua rented a private jet to fly from Dubai to Mount Kilimanjaro for US$80,000. The tour inside Africa, including hotels, added US$50,000 to the bill.
He brought back "a huge pack of meat, from a very rare animal" as a gift for his father.
"I don't remember exactly what kind of meat that was. It was hung on a wooden frame. Guagua said it could be eaten raw, but Bo Xilai insisted on steaming it, which made Guagua really angry, because the meat was really expensive and shouldn't be cooked," Gu said via a video link.
The family split the pack and enjoyed the delicacy for a month. "It was pretty good," Gu said.
The mysterious gift prompted many guesses online. Many suggested it was "biltong", a dried, spiced jerky made from game that is popular in South Africa and said to be good with Cape Town's Pinotage wine.
Guagua's luxury demands stretched from travelling to daily life. In 2008, he told his mother that he saw a Segway - a two-wheeled electric vehicle - in Beijing, and he wanted one.
Gu said: "Ask Xu to pay for it. He hasn't given you a gift for a while. Just say this is a gift that your mum can enjoy as well."
The whole family got to test-drive the 80,000-yuan Segway.
The younger Bo never had to worry about his credit card as that was taken care of by Xu as well - in 2011, when it was overdrawn, Xu paid 335,400 yuan to save Guagua's credit history.
Bo Xilai claimed in court that he didn't recall anything about the African trip or the Segway.