Local newspapers in Chongqing carry the reports about Bo Xilai and his wife on the front page. (Photo/CNS)
Soon after the state news agency Xinhua released the news of Bo Xilai's suspension from both the Communist Party's Central Committee and its Politburo shortly late on April 10, sources quoted by the US-based citizen journalist website Boxun said that the order to murder the British businessman Neil Heywood came directly from Bo and his assistant Zhang Xiaojun carried out the deed.
Bo is also reportedly responsible for the murder of six people in Dalian and Chongqing, cities where he served as party chief. The claim was disclosed by Mingjing News, a New York-based website allegedly sourced by political insiders. The website said sources from the Communist Party relayed the information, and External Reference magazine will describe the details later. The report has not yet been confirmed by other independent sources yet. Beijing analysts said that if the allegations are confirmed, Bo Xilai will most likely be sentenced to death.
Boxun previously disclosed that Heywood had gained confidential information regarding transactions of the Bo family's assets and that he was having an affair with Bo's wife Gu Kailai. Although official Chinese news outlets have reported Gu Kailai and Zhang Xiaojun are suspected of murdering Heywood, they did not directly accuse Bo Xilai of having a hand in his death.
The sources informed Boxun that Xia Deliang, the arrested party secretary of Chongqing Na'an district, confessed that he prepared the potassium hydrogen solution that poisoned Heywood and that he paid Bo's wife 30 million yuan (US$4.8 million) in order to be promoted to vice mayor. According to the initial investigation, Bo received 1 billion yuan (US$158 million) through his wife in bribes from Chongqing officials seeking promotion.
Boxun quoted insiders as saying that Gu Kailai may be given the death penalty as she is suspected of murdering another four persons. She has reportedly admitted transferring 8 billion yuan (US$1.2 billion) of assets overseas.
The report also told of a politician drunk with power and in thrall to his own personality cult, regarding himself as behind only the first Chinese emperor Qin Shihuang and Mao Zedong as the greatest man in Chinese history.
According to investigations, Bo pursued a decadent lifestyle from his time as party boss in Dalian. It is said that he has slept with over 100 women, a quarter of whom are celebrities including CCTV presenters and numerous models, while other rumors said he has kept well-known movie stars and singers as his mistresses. It is also reported that Bo's right-hand man Wang Lijun — whose attempt to seek political asylum at the US consulate in Chengdu in February was the trigger that brought about his downfall — recorded the details of Bo's behavior in secret. Xu Ming, chairman of Dalian Shide and a former backer of Bo who is himself now under investigation, has apparently admitted to seeking out young women for Bo to sleep with.
Bo Xilai's wife Gu Kailai meanwhile, a well-known lawyer in her own right, is said to be shrewd and clever, though she likes to boast of her achievements. Ed Byrne, an American lawyer from Denver who worked with Gu several years ago, described her as Jackie Kennedy of China in an interview with the Wall Street Journal. Friends of Gu's family have disclosed however that she had been experiencing depression in recent years and had distanced herself from her husband for fear of betrayal. She is alleged to have had an affair with Heywood, who was concerned for his safety after they broke up as Gu complained to him constantly that she was betrayed by close friends and relatives.
The late-night news release from Xinhua has confirmed much of what was already being spread as rumor on the country's social networking sites, and triggering a fresh wave as internet users stayed up to pick over the case some more.
A netizen going by the name "Liberalism to Death 11" said: "Tonight [state broadcaster] CCTV once again proved that rumors on the microblogs will basically be confirmed soon."
Bo Xilai 薄熙來
Zhang Xiaojun 張曉軍
Gu Kailai 谷開來