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Chinese politician's wife implicated in murde -

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Chinese politician's wife implicated in murder, espionage

Broadcast: 11/04/2012

Reporter: Stephen McDonell

Senior Chinese politician Bo Xilai has been suspended from his elite communist party after his wife
was implicated in murder, betrayal, and espionage.

Transcript

TONY JONES, PRESENTER: In what's been described as China's biggest political scandal for two
decades, the fall of Bo Xilai, the man once touted as a future leader, appears to be complete.

Late last night the state news agency announced that the former mayor of Chongqing had been sacked
from all his key party posts and his wife is now being held as a suspect in the murder of a British
businessman last November.

China correspondent Stephen McDonell reports.

STEPHEN MCDONELL, REPORTER: China's once-rising political star Bo Xilai has now been stood down
from his remaining positions awaiting investigation. Rumours of his removal from the Communist
Party Central Committee and the more powerful 25-strong Politburo were swirling around Beijing last
night. Then came the announcement of his suspension, read out on television and along with it a
bombshell regarding his wife.

Apart from Bo Xilai being investigated, his wife, Gu Kailai is being held by police as a main
suspect in a murder case.

She was a close associate of business British businessman Neil Heywood who died mysteriously last
November. Police say he was having a major commercial dispute with Bo Xilai's family.

According to the official Shinwa report, police are treating his death as homicide and have put
together a special team to reopen the case with Bo Xilai's wife and another staff member as "prime
suspects".

The British Government has welcomed the move.

WILLIAM HAGUE, BRITISH FOREIGN SECRETARY: I decided a few weeks ago to ask China to reopen its
investigations into the death of Neil Heywood and so I'm pleased they are doing as we asked them to
do and we now look forward to seeing the outcome of these investigations.

STEPHEN MCDONELL: As is the way with these things in China, the announcement that Bo Xilai was to
be suspended from his remaining posts and the dramatic declaration that his wife was a key suspect
in a murder investigation, came in the form of a statement from the Shinwa wire service.

That statement also quoted "unnamed" Government sources as saying, "Whoever has broken the law will
be handled in accordance with the law and will not be tolerated no matter who is involved." So as
you can see, there's also a serious propaganda war going on here within the Communist Party.

Chinese papers have carried prominent stories about Bo Xilai's very public demise, but many
ordinary people are still feeling pretty much in the dark about what's really going on in the upper
echelons of power here.

VOX POP (voiceover translation): This is the story of a high official who's been taken down, so
people are very interested in it. But there are still many things unclear about this matter. People
want to know what's going on.

STEPHEN MCDONELL: The investigation into Bo Xilai also involves whatever his former police chief
told United States diplomats in what appears to be a failed asylum attempt. Chinese authorities
have accused the Bo Xilai of "serious discipline violations".

But if his wife goes down for murdering a British businessmen, then she faces jail time or even the
death penalty.

Either way, Bo Xilai, the man once tipped as potential leadership material for this country, now
appears to be without a political future and will be lucky to avoid prison himself. Then again, in
China, you never know.

Stephen McDonell, Lateline.