China's Nagging Political Scandal Is Now a Murder Case

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Tuesday was a bad day for Chinese politician Bo Xilai and his family: First Bo was suspended from the 25-member Politburo that runs China, then his wife was reportedly arrested for the murder of a British businessman. It's the end of Bo's downward political spiral that's been causing havoc among the Chinese leadership, and the beginning of a formal criminal case for his wife, Gu Kailai, who was arrested along with a family aide for the death of Neil Heywood, according to CNN. Heywood's death was originally reported as alcohol poisoning, but Britain asked the Chinese government to re-investigate it as suspicions arose that a crime had been covered up.

Bo, who made a name for himself as the Communist Party chief of China's Chongqing municipality, was stripped of that position last month (CNN's Jaime FlorCruz has a good explainer of that situation). The rumors flying around Bo's scandal created such a confusing tangle of information that at the end of March, foreign correspondents in China briefly thought there might have been a coup underway in Beijing

Now that the matter has turned to a criminal case, the news remains murky. The New York Times cited the official Chinese news agency Xinhua on Tuesday, reporting that Bo had been ousted and that his wife was suspected in the murder of Heywood. But CNN followed that news with a report sourced to the state-run China Central Television, saying Gu and her aide had been arrested. Xinhua's still reporting police are investigating Gu -- it hasn't said she was arrested -- and CCTV doesn't have news of her arrest on its site, but we can't verify what the network is reporting on its broadcast, as it doesn't stream online.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.