As we said two weeks ago, China's state-controlled media had already concluded that Gu Kailai was guilty of murder even before any sort of a trial.

Today in central China the wife of once-prominent politician Bo Xilai got her day in court.


In one day — actually, in about four hours — prosecutors presented their case and officials then announced that Gu and an aide did not contest the charge that they conspired to kill British businessman Neil Heywood last November because he had allegedly threatened Gu's son.

The official guilty verdict and Gu's sentence will come later. She could be given a death sentence.

On Morning Edition, NPR's Frank Langfitt talked with host Renee Montagne about the case and the "enormous political subtext" beneath it.

Frank said Bo (the husband) has allegedly been confiscating the fortunes of businessmen in Chongqing, China, his former political stronghold. Bo was poised to this year ascend into the ranks of China's top leadership and it was feared by others that he might employ some of the same strongarm tactics on a broader scale.

The case against Bo's wife, Frank said, "has allowed his political rivals to sideline him." Bo is now in detention. After a verdict is officially handed down against Gu, "the Communist Party will deal with him [Bo]," Frank told Renee.

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