Bo Xilai

Bo Xilai trial transcripts censored, sources say

Testimony that might show disgraced former Politburo member in a more sympathetic light omitted from public court reports, say sources

PUBLISHED : Monday, 26 August, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 26 August, 2013, 1:13pm

Sensitive testimony that might humanise Bo Xilai or cast Beijing in a bad light has been scrubbed from the public transcripts of the former Politburo member's corruption trial, according to people with direct knowledge of the proceedings.

Since the politically charged trial began on Thursday, the Jinan Intermediate People's Court has provided detailed transcripts of testimony on its official microblog.

While these have provided juicy details to captivate the millions watching around the world, some testimony has been left out of the public record, according to three people who have either attended the trial or been briefed on proceedings.

Censored testimony included Bo's account of the five letters he wrote to the Communist Party's central leadership, pleading for his wife's pardon in the murder of British businessman Neil Heywood. Also omitted were his descriptions of the less-than-subtle tactics by investigators from the party's anti-graft watchdog, who told him of the corruption trials of two officials - one who confessed and lived and the other who fought and was executed.

The transcripts also left out some of Bo's more sympathetic remarks about his wife, Gu Kailai , who was convicted of murder last year and has testified against him.

Similarly, the transcripts took some of Bo's more negative remarks about Gu out of context, including his description of her as "insane", according to a source briefed on the testimony.

The source said Bo was merely quoting what the investigators had said about her to prove that her testimony was unreliable.

"My life has already been a tragedy; so is Kailai's life," Bo told prosecutors on Saturday, according to the source. "I hope you guys can stop this investigation, and stop squeezing the last bit of warmth out of our family."

Two of the sources said Bo also blamed strong-arm tactics by the Central Commission of Discipline and Inspection (CCDI) with pressuring him into making a confession - another detail not in the transcripts.

The CCDI officials told him to study the fate of former Anhui vice-governor Wang Huaizhong and that of the former railways minister Liu Zhijun . Wang, who fought his charges, was executed in 2004 after being convicted of accepting five million yuan (HK$6.3 million) in bribes.

In July, Liu was convicted of corruption after taking more than 60 million yuan in bribes, but he received only a suspended death sentence. His trial lasted less than four hours and he expressed his "gratefulness" to the party at the court.

Bo said investigators told him his charges could lead to a harsh verdict or a lenient one. It depended on his attitude about a confession.

Video: Bo Xilai trial adjourned on Sunday

"There are two lives that hinge upon me," Bo told the court, using a Chinese idiom, according to the court witness source. It was taken to mean that he thought his confession could save both himself and his wife from the death penalty. But the public account showed only that Bo simply denied his pretrial confessions.

According to the transcripts, Bo said he was pressured by the anti-graft officials, who asked him "leading questions" to extract a confession against his will.

Bo was quoted as saying: "I'm not a perfect man, am not a strong-willed person; I'm willing to take responsibility for that."

Other omitted court details include a heated discussion about Gu's drug use and a verbal attack on the state media by Bo.

Bo complained to the court that "some authoritative media had already given me a verdict" even before the trial ended, according to the sources. "This was not conforming to the spirit of rule of law, democracy, fairness and justice."

On the second day of the trial, Bo uttered a few English words such as "funny" and "ridiculous" to describe the raw meat his son Guagua brought for him from Africa as a gift, and he was cut short by the presiding judge. "Only Chinese is allowed at this hearing," he said.




  • Bo's plea for wife's release
  • Intimidation by officials
  • Gu's drug addiction
  • Bo attack on state media
  • English words ["funny", "ridiculous" uttered by Bo in court]