GU KAILAI IS standing trial today for the murder of the British businessman Neil Heywood last year.
Kailai, who is married to former Chinese politician Bo Xilai, went on trial earlier today, Reuters reports.
It says that protestors were taken from outside of the courthouse and that the trial was held behind closed doors.
State news agency Xinhua has said there is “irrefutable and substantial” evidence that Kailai along with family aide and codefendant Zhang Xiaojun poisoned Neil Heywood, a Briton who was found dead in the southwestern city of Chongqing.
The murder is alleged to have been motivated by a dispute over money.
They are said to have poisoned Heywood together. His death in November was initially said to have been caused by a heart attack or excessive drinking.
In a sign of the huge sensitivity of the case, no foreign media have been allowed into the Hefei Intermediate Court in eastern China where Gu is being tried.
None of China’s main state-run newspapers covered the trial earlier today and posts on the country’s popular microblogging sites – many of them complaining about the lack of transparency surrounding the trial – were rapidly deleted.
Xinhua said she had “economic conflicts” with the diplomat Heywood and feared for the safety of her son Bo Guagua, 24.
Guagua is believed to be in the United States, where he recently completed a master’s degree.
He told CNN this week he had submitted a witness statement to his mother’s defence team, and that he believes the “facts will speak for themselves” in the case.
Bo Xilai was purged from the government in April of this year, which coincided with riots in his home city of Chongqing.
- Additional reporting AFP