U.K. Officials Granted Access to Gu Kailai Trial

Bloomberg news reports that the Chinese government will allow U.K. officials to attend the murder trial of Gu Kailai, set to begin on Thursday in the eastern city of Hefei:

Two officials from the U.K. Embassy in Beijing will be given access to the trial of Gu Kailai, according to an official of the mission who spoke on condition of anonymity yesterday. China unveiled formal charges against Gu, accusing her of “intentional homicide” in the death of Briton Neil Heywood, the official Xinhua News Agency reported on July 26.

Gu “is almost certain to be convicted,” according to The Australian’s Michael Sainsbury, who writes that this week’s trial and verdict will pave the way for the government to also formally punish Bo Xilai before the 18th Party Congress in October:

Jin Zhong, chief editor of Open Magazine in Hong Kong, said Ms Gu was likely to likely to receive the same treatment as Mao Zedong’s wife, Jiang Qing, who was involved in a plot to seize power after his death. Jiang’s death sentence was commuted to life imprisonment.

“The treatment of Bo might be between August and September, after the party’s working summer retreat at the seaside report of Beidaihe,” he said.

“Bo cannot be completely cut off from Gu’s murder. At the very least, he knew of it but didn’t report to the central government, and it is severe violation of the party’s discipline. The party has never lowered its extreme caution of ambitious politicians. In this sense, the more severe the crime of which Gu is found guilty, the easier it is to subdue Bo.”