The third day of Bo Xilai’s trial in Jinan, Shandong province produced some of the most interesting revelations, as Bo admitted to multiple infidelities (while maintaining that his wife is ‘crazy’) and to hitting his deputy, Wang Lijun.
In 2000, Mr Bo said, his wife had fled with his son after catching him cheating. “She simply arranged for Bo Guagua to go to a foreign school and left,” he told the court. “She was angry with me over an affair. To some extent, the reason why they left was because she was really angry.”
According to Jiang Weiping, a journalist in Dalian who was imprisoned by Mr Bo for digging into uncomfortable details about his rule, Mr Bo had romanced a 20-something secretary called Miss Li and spent so much time trysting with various women in the city’s luxury hotel suites that he was nicknamed “Bo Qilai”, or “Erect Mr Bo”.
Bo has dismissed his wife’s testimony against him as “crazy” and said that she was “trying to avoid the death penalty”. He also claimed vociferously that she was allowed to testify by video, preventing cross-examination.
But in what may eventually prove to be his undoing, he also said he took responsibility for the fact that £500,000 of public money had somehow made its way into his wife’s account.
“I let it slide. It was over a decade ago and it had already gone into her account, leading to the personal use of public money,” Bo told the court. “I am willing to accept responsibility for this, I am deeply ashamed and regretful about this incident.”
Unlike Gu, Bo’s former deputy Wang Lijun did appear in person, and was roundly cross-examined and verbally attacked by his former superior:
“I also called the deputy police chief Guo Weiguo and the director of Chongqing’s general office Wu to my office. I directly asked Wang: ‘Yesterday, you told me that somebody was saying Gu murdered [Heywood]. Is that somebody you?’ Wang looked very embarrassed. I lost my control. I thought he was a two-face. My main question to him was this: ‘Who wrote the letter against Gu? You or the three others?’
“He couldn’t answer. I hate a two-face more than anything else. He appeared to be obedient. But on issues like this, he was playing tricks. He told me softly yesterday that somebody said Gu murdered [Heywood]. Now when I asked him if it’s him, he couldn’t answer. That was why I slapped him across the face. I was mad with anger. I said some angry words.”
Wang said that Bo’s “slap” was closer to a punch, leaving him “bleeding from the corner of my mouth and fluid was leaking from my ear.”
Bo later tried to reconcile with Wang, saying that “Neil, who was killed, was not a good guy, let us put this aside. Besides, this case has been closed in the police station.” However, shortly after the punch/slap incident Wang fled to the American consulate in Chengdu, setting in motion the series of events that would eventually lead to the two men facing each other in court.
“I failed to handle this issue calmly at the critical moment and I judged the situation wrongly so I hold part of the responsibility for the Wang Lijun’s flight. I am deeply ashamed,” Bo said.
The trial continues.