This Week's Bo Xilai News: A Modest 'Party Boy' and an Alleged Confession

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This week's hot scoops in the Bo Xilai scandal come from The Telegraph, on the China side, reporting that Bo's wife Gu Kailai confessed to murdering Neil Heywood, and from The Harvard Crimson, on the Western side, which got a statement from Bo's son, Bo Guagua.

The Crimson printed the statement in full, so you can read it at your leisure, but for us the highlights were Bo's explanation of how he paid for his education: "scholarships earned independently, and my mother’s generosity from the savings she earned from her years as a successful lawyer and writer." And his outright denial of the report that he showed up in a Ferrari to then-ambassador Jon Huntsman's house, while his father advocated Maoist austerity on Chongqing where he was party chief. "I have never driven a Ferrari. I have also not been to the U.S. Embassy in Beijing since 1998 (when I obtained a previous U.S. Visa), nor have I ever been to the U.S. Ambassador’s Residence in China," Bo Guagua wrote in the Crimson.

Bo Guagua did not directly address his father's political downfall or the murder charge against his mother, but that story continues to churn along. Development in that narrative comes from The Telegraph's Damien McElroy and Malcolm Moore, who reported via diplomatic sources in Beijing that Bo Xilai's former police chief and ally, Wang Lijun, told U.S. and Chinese authorities that Gu had confessed Neil Heywood's murder to him. "I did it," she reportedly said. There's actually an account, the first we've seen, of how the alleged killing apparently went down:

According to Mr Wang, Mr Heywood, a fixer with decades of experience in China and a family friend of Mr Bo and his wife, was held down in a hotel room in Chongqing and forced to drink cyanide. Subsequently, Mrs Gu allegedly confessed to the crime. "Gu said 'I did it' three times to Wang," a diplomatic source with knowledge of Wang's account said. "It was a gruesome scene, Heywood spat the cyanide out and they had to give him more."

Now, it's important to remember that this is one unnamed diplomat's version of Wang's account, which is just one side of a very complicated story. Gu is in custody and Bo hasn't spoken publicly since he was stripped of his post as Communist Party secretary of Chongqing. Heywood obviously can't tell his story, and his family is not speaking to the press. Wang has reason to take down Bo Xilai and his family because he apparently fled Bo's administration after Bo allegedly tried to block the murder investigation. So the account to The Telegraph, while dramatic, should be taken with a grain or two of salt. 

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