Cookie consent

We use cookies to improve your experience on this website. By continuing to browse our site you agree to our use of cookies. Tell me more | Cookie preferences

Bo Xilai trial: Son Bo Guagua hopes father can 'answer his critics'

Does Bo Xilai's trial matter in China?

    Just Watched

    Does Bo Xilai's trial matter in China?

Does Bo Xilai's trial matter in China? 02:50

Story highlights

  • Bo Xilai's son Bo Guagua issues statement before father's trial
  • Elder Bo is accused of bribery, corruption and abuse of power
  • Bo hopes father "is granted the opportunity to answer his critics"
  • Mother is serving suspended death sentence for murdering Neil Heywood

As his father prepares to face the court in what's being billed as China's trial of the century, the son of former high-flying politician Bo Xilai has expressed hope that his father is able to "defend himself without constraints."

In a statement supplied to the New York Times on Monday, Bo Guagua writes that it's been 18 months since he's been in contact with his father or mother, Gu Kailai, who is serving a suspended death sentence.

"I can only surmise the conditions of their clandestine detention and the adversity they each endure in solitude," he wrote.

Gu was found guilty in August of the 2011 murder of British businessman Neil Heywood in a Chongqing hotel room. A family employee, Zhang Xiaojun, was also convicted in the killing and sentenced to nine years in prison.

TIMELINE: Bo Xilai scandal

The elder Bo is due to face trial on Thursday charged with bribery, corruption and abuse of power.

The political impact of Bo Xilai's trial

    Just Watched

    The political impact of Bo Xilai's trial

The political impact of Bo Xilai's trial 03:59
Bo Xilai prepares for corruption trial

    Just Watched

    Bo Xilai prepares for corruption trial

Bo Xilai prepares for corruption trial 01:48
Political star at center of murder trial

    Just Watched

    Political star at center of murder trial

Political star at center of murder trial 01:36
On China: Bo Xilai

    Just Watched

    On China: Bo Xilai

On China: Bo Xilai 02:02

"I hope that in my father's upcoming trial, he is granted the opportunity to answer his critics and defend himself without constraints of any kind," the younger Bo wrote.

However, he adds: "If my well-being has been bartered for my father's acquiescence or my mother's further cooperation, then the verdict will clearly carry no moral weight."

During her one-day trial, Gu issued a statement saying she didn't deny allegations that she poisoned Heywood, but she said she did so because she thought her son's life was in danger, according to the state-run Xinhua news agency.

Bo: Mother 'silenced'

Bo wrote Monday that his mother had been "silenced" by the sentence, and was unable to defend herself against the "opportunistic detractors that attack her reputation with impunity."

"She has already overcome unimaginable tribulation after the sudden collapse of her physical health in 2006 and subsequent seclusion," he wrote.

"Although it is of little comfort to my anxiety about her state of health, I know that she will continue to absorb all that she is accused of with dignity and quiet magnanimity."

READ: Bo Guagua confident 'facts will speak for themselves'

Position unravels

Before March 2012, the Bo family was considered part of China's political elite.

The elder Bo was chief of the bustling metropolis of Chongqing, in the country's southwest. His wife, Gu, a high-flying lawyer, and their son were the beneficiaries of his family's wealth and connections at the top of Chinese politics.

However, their privileged position started unraveling in March 2012, when Bo's right-hand man, then-Chongqing police chief, Wang Lijun, fled to the U.S. consulate in Chengdu with claims that Gu had been involved in Heywood's murder.

Bo was subsequently stripped of his posts and disappeared from public view.

'Sheer rubbish'

In one of his final statements, Bo condemned the treatment of his family, branding personal attacks as "sheer rubbish."

"A few people have been pouring filth on Chongqing and me and my family," Bo said. "They even say that my son studies abroad and drives a red Ferrari. Sheer rubbish! I feel really furious. Sheer rubbish!"

In the weeks after the allegations emerged, photos of Bo Guagua wearing an unbuttoned shirt with his arms draped around female students at an Oxford college party started circulating on the Internet

The photos drew a cool response in China were the sons and daughters of the political elite are often perceived to enjoy special privileges and treatment out of reach of most Chinese.

In an open letter published on the Harvard Crimson in April, 2012, Bo hit back at allegations he was living a "party boy" lifestyle.

He denied ever having driven a Ferrari and said that, contrary to reports that he was coasting through his course, earned "a 2:1 degree (Second Class, First Honours) overall and achieved a First in Philosophy."

Bo graduated from Harvard's Kennedy School of Government in May, 2012. He previously attended Oxford, graduating in 2010, and is reported to have recently enrolled in Columbia Law School.

      Bo Xilai scandal

    • chinese.politician.sentenced_00023923.jpg

      Political science professor Yuhua Wang says he's surprised by the severity of the life sentence given to Chinese politician Bo Xilai.
    • This screen grab taken from state television CCTV footage broadcast on August 24, 2013 shows ousted Chinese political star Bo Xilai (C) speaking in the courtroom as he stands trial at the Intermediate People's Court in Jinan, China.

      In a letter to his family, the disgraced Communist Party leader reiterated his innocence but said he expected a lengthy prison sentence.
    • Was the trial of Bo Xilai (right) any more transparent than that of Jiang Qing and the "Gang of Four"?

      CNN Beijing bureau chief Jaime Florcruz compares his experience covering Bo's trial with a similarly explosive story in the early 1980s -- the "Gang of Four" trial.
    • This picture taken on September 29, 2008 shows the then Chongqing mayor Bo Xilan attending the "Ode to Motherland" singsong gathering in Chongqing. China's once high-flying communist politician Bo Xilai has been indicted for bribery and abuse of power, state media said on July 25, 2013 following a scandal that exposed deep divisions at the highest levels of government. CHINA OUT AFP PHOTOSTR/AFP/Getty Images

      While Chinese state media hailed the Bo Xilai trial as a show of "historic transparency," analysts saw its theatrics as part of a high-profile show trial.
    • This frame grab taken from Chinese television CCTV shows on September 18, 2012 shows former police chief Wang Lijun (R) facing the court during his trial in Chengdu, in southwest China's Sichuan province. The former police chief who set off China's biggest political scandal in years "did not contest" charges including defection and bribery at his trial, which ended on September 19, a court in Chengdu said. CHINA OUT AFP PHOTO / CCTV

      The trial of Bo Xilai concluded with claims from Bo that his former police chief had a crush on his wife, Gu Kailai, who is serving time for murder.
    • The wife of a high-profile Chinese politician found guilty of murder has been described as funny, personable, attractive and charismatic.
    • Wang Lijun pictured last year at the National People's Congress in Beijing.

      The trigger of China's biggest political scandal in a generation, Wang Lijun was once a feared police chief whose crime fighting exploits inspired a TV series.
    • pkg grant inside china heywood hotel mystery_00002515

      A run-down hotel on the outskirts of Chongqing is the unlikely setting for a murder mystery. CNN's Stan Grant looks inside.