Many Chinese internet users and Yu Shuqin, Bo Xilai's older sister, question whether this woman is really Gu Kailai. (Internet Photo)
Upon the release of official footage and photos of the trial of Gu Kailai, who, along with her aide Zhang Xiaojun, had supposedly confessed to the poisoning of British businessman Neil Heywood on Aug. 10, Yu Shuqin, the adopted stepsister of Gu's husband Bo Xilai, claimed that the woman filmed in the dock was not Gu, according to Boxun News, a Chinese citizen journalism website sourced by anonymous users which makes claims that are often difficult to prove.
Many supporters of Bo Xilai, the disgraced former party chief of Chongqing, have already questioned the fairness of the trial, which took place in the "neutral" city of Hefei in the eastern province of Anhui. Reporters were told by the authorities that they could not enter as all seats were occupied, only for footage to reveal empty rows. Gu was not only denied the right to hire her own lawyer, but her family members were also not permitted to attend the proceedings. Since the laws of the People's Republic of China allow two relatives of the defendant to attend the trial, the leadership of Hu Jintao and Wen Jiabao has been accused of bending the law unfairly.
Rumors on the internet also questioned the true identity of the woman who appeared in court for the trial. Some netizens pointed out that Gu Kailai's eyebrows in the trial were more arched than in other photos, while others said that Gu never left her shirt unbuttoned like the footage showed. Some went so far as to claim that it was no surprise that Gu's family was barred from the trial since the real Gu Kailai was absent.
After seeing the photos, Yu Shuqin also posted on the internet that the woman was not her sister-in-law. Yu said that it is impossible for Gu Kailai to have put on so much weight during her five months of house arrest because she would have been in no mood to eat anything after her family was persecuted by the government. She not only echoed netizens in mentioning the differences in the woman's face, eyes and hair, but Yu also said her ears were not the same. "It doesn't matter how fat a woman becomes," said Yu, "the shape of her ears will never change."
As the goddaughter of Bo Yibo, the Communist Party "immortal" who helped Mao Zedong found the People's Republic of China in 1949, Yu Shuqin is a long time supporter of Bo Xilai. Rumors from the internet said that Yu has already launched a hunger strike against the government's decision to arrest and investigate her brother.
Yu Shuqin 于書琴