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Trial shifts to ‘cover-up’ cops

world Updated: Aug 11, 2012 00:41 IST
Sutirtho Patranobis

A day after the seven-hour homicide trial of Gu Kailai, wife of ousted Communist party leader Bo Xilai, a case against four policemen went on hearing in the eastern Chinese city of Hefei on Friday for allegedly helping her to cover up the murder of British businessman, Neil Heywood.

All four were senior officers were with Chongqing municipality where Heywood was murdered last November and where Bo was the mayor and the chief of the Communist Party of China (CPC).

The four dismissed officials included Guo Weiguo, former deputy chief of Chongqing's Public Security Bureau, and Li Yang, former chief of the bureau's criminal section, Xinhua news agency said. The other two officers were named as Wang Pengfei and Wang Zhi.

According to state media the four police officers to be tried are accused of covering up Gu's actions and "bending the law to achieve personal benefit".

It has emerged that not only did Gu's lawyer did not challenge the charge of "intentional homicide" but said she had "made significant contributions by reporting offences by other people" and that her cooperation should be taken into account, court official Tang Yigan told journalists, While it is not clear whether Bo knew about the alleged cover-up, there is speculation that he might be eventually linked to the case.

Bo hasn't been seen in public or heard from since he was sacked from the powerful 25-member CPC in April and placed under investigation for indiscipline.

Reporting on both cases has been tightly controlled in Chinese media. State-run English newspapers reprinted what was reported by Xinhua, the official news agency.

National broadcaster CCTV repeatedly showed the same clips of Gu and the other accused Zhao Xiaojun in the court with news anchors reading out an official handout.

Meanwhile, CNN reported that Bo and Gu's son, who is believed to be still in the United States after graduating from Harvard this summer, has said in an email that he had submitted a witness statement to the court.

"I hope that my mother will have the opportunity to review them," added Bo Guagua. "I have faith that facts will speak for themselves," he told CNN in an email.