Return to Transcripts main page
CONNECT THE WORLD
Lonmin Ultimatum To South African Miners: Return To Work Or Be Fired; A Look Into The Mind Of An Honor Killer
Aired August 20, 2012 - 16:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
FIONNUALA SWEENEY, HOST: And tonight on Connect the World, inside the mind of a killer.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MUHAMMAD ISMAIL, KILLED WIFE (subtitles): I left her there and went next door and killed my wife's mother and sister. Then I came back and shot my wife again.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SWEENEY: Behind bars for murder, his shocking defense: family honor.
ANNOUNCER: Live from CNN Center, this is Connect the World.
SWEENEY: It is a heinous crime which happens all over the world. Tonight, we begin a special series looking at so-called honor murders.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You were in a 4G, inverted dive with a MiG 28?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SWEENEY: Tributes pour in for Top Gun director Tony Scott as more details surrounding his tragic death emerge.
And in sport, why these two women are set to make green jacket history.
All this week CNN is shining a light on the horrific practice of, quote, "honor murders." You've heard the stories of a family shamed by a member who rejects traditional values, maybe refuses an arranged marriage or has an illicit affair. The killing of that person is seen as an act to restore the family's reputation.
The UN estimates each year as many as 5,000 women worldwide are the victims of this crime. A 2002 report indicates that most of these murders are thought to take place in Pakistan. Honor killings are more common in the Middle East and Asia, but these crimes have been reported in Brazil, France, Germany and the UK.
Well, in the days ahead you're going to hear from women who escaped the abuse and from activists working on their behalf. But first, you're going to hear directly from a man in Pakistan who murdered his wife because he thought she was cheating on him. And killing in the name of honor didn't stop there.
MUKHTAR HUSSAIN, SAMINA'S FATHER (subtitles): My life is destroyed. My God destroy his life too. I have nothing left. I beg God for justice.
ISMAIL: I asked my wife to bring me my clothes. When she went inside the bedroom, I shot and killed her. She didn't say anything when I shot her. I didn't want to hear what she had to say anyway. The first shot hit the side of her body. I left her there and went next door and killed my wife's mother and sister. Then I came back and shot my wife again.
I don't remember how many times I shot my wife. The gun was loaded. I stopped when I was sure all the bullets were gone.
I am proud of what I did, that's why I turned myself over to the police.
My wife never made me happy. She was just like a prostitute. She never took care of me. If I was sitting or sleeping alone, she never kept me company.
No, I don't regret what I did. Even if the government hangs me I wouldn't care. I did this for my honor. I don't care if I lose my life.
No, no, no. I don't miss my wife. How can I miss a prostitute?
If anyone's wife deceives him, he should do what I did. He should make her a lesson for other women.
SWEENEY: That was a disturbing story there. Cold-blooded murder with no remorse. It's a story that is far too common.
Joining me now from CNN Islamabad is Reza Sayah. Reza, despite his confession and saying that he'd be prepared to hang for his crime, this man may soon be released, I understand.
REZA SAYAH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's correct. And it's going to surprise some people perhaps. If the victim's family here agrees to accept compensation for the killings, it's called blood money Fionnuala, he could go free. And receiving blood money is an option in many conservative societies under the principle of Islam that mercy is a more noble act than revenge.
We should also point out that despite his confession to police that statement is not admissible in court, that has a lot to do with Pakistani police's very bad reputation in the past of extracting these confessions by force. So if he wants to officially legally confess he has to do it before a judge and it's not clear if he's going to do that.
SWEENEY: But the UN says there was something like 943 cases in 2011 in Pakistan, up 100 from last year. Why are these acts so common in Pakistan?
SAYAH: Well, rights activists say the numbers are going up because of the root causes of the problem continue to persist. And, you know, one of those is that these communities are male dominated communities where men still believe that women are property. And you saw how that man was talking, he was talking about his ex-wife, his late wife as if she was property. And they believe just like property if it doesn't function, they can be discarded.
Now it's been a long time in these communities that men think this way. The question is how do you extract these beliefs and views and replace them with views that women are your equal, women have rights. And many rights activists say it's going to take a long time.
Add to that what many here see is a corrupt government, a corrupt and ineffective justice system, a police system that oftentimes doesn't even have the power to investigate, and doesn't have the resources to prosecute these cases. It puts women at a disadvantage. And that's why rights groups say these honor killings continue here in Pakistan in this region.
SWEENEY: Reza Sayah reporting live from CNN Islamabad. Thanks for joining us there.
Well, it is hard to imagine that these crimes are taking place in more westernized countries where women share equal protection under the law with me. But sadly the practice is spreading. Atika Schubert has more on a case that gripped a nation.
ATIKA SCHUBERT, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: There is no sound on this wedding video, making it all the more eerie. The bride is barely able to keep her head up and no one in the wedding party looks happy. British police provided this video to CNN. It is the date stamp that's crucial, February 2003, and the teenager behind the bride, Shafilea Ahmed, proof that she was brought to Pakistan for an arranged marriage.
This was the future that awaited the British 17 year old. Her parents had told her she would be married off and left in Pakistan like it or not.
Shortly after this video was shot, Shafilea drank a bottle of bleach in this bathroom. She was hospitalized and then flown back to Britain, viewed as an embarrassment by her parents.
Shafilea Ahmed was born in Britain, her parents Farzana and Iftikhar Ahmed raised her and her siblings in the small town of Warrington where Iftikhar worked as a taxi driver.
Plenty of people in Warrington knew the family, but no one was willing to talk to us on camera as though the entire town wanted to put the tragedy behind them. One taxi driver who worked with the father described him as an ordinary man with a temper.
Neighbors describe Shafilea as a quiet girl that would slip out of her high heel shoes and cover up her short sleeve tops a block before reaching home.
But it was at school that the first warning signs emerged.
This is where Shafilea went to school and it was her teachers who repeatedly raised the alarm calling social services when she missed class, when she showed up to school with bruises on her arms, once with bruises around her neck and a cut on her face. And it was her teacher, not her parents, who reported her missing to police in September 2003.
After months of searching, her body was found in the River Kent badly decomposed and dismembered. No cause of death could be determined.
Her parents held press conferences complaining about police delays, breaking down in tears. And in this interview with local ITN News denying any involvement in her death.
IFTIKHA AHMED, SHAFILEA'S FATHER: Would we kill our own daughter?
UNIDNETIFIED MALE: Well, would you?
SCHUBERT: The truth came seven years later from Shafilea's younger sister Alicia, seen in this wedding video, her identity protected. Shafilea had endured years of beatings and abuse by both her parents, Alicia said, but it was after this trip to Pakistan that things got much worse.
The day she went missing, Alicia said, both parents held Shafilea down and stuff a plastic bag down her throat until she stopped struggling. In court, Alicia testified that her mother Farzana had ordered, quote, just finish it here.
It happened at their home, immaculate from the outside, hiding the family's dark secret within.
This is where Shafilea grew up, it's the family home. It's where Shafilea lived and died. Up until recently it's where her parents still lived. It's where her brother and sister still are, in fact I spoke to her sister briefly, but neither her nor her brother want to talk about it.
Farzana and Iftikhar Ahmed have now been convicted and sentenced to life in prison, last seen lead away in hand cuffs.
Shafilea's death has been recognized by the British court as an honor killing. Their fear of being shamed, the judge noted, was greater than their love for their child.
Atika Schubert, CNN, Warrington, England.
SWEENEY: Shafilea's story raises big questions about what's being done to stop this crime anywhere it occurs. Tomorrow we'll hear from someone fighting to abolish the practice, a Pakistani lawyer and activist tells us how he is standing up for the rights of the country's most vulnerable. That's here on Connect the World Tuesday and all this week.
But still to come tonight, the South African mine that played host to a bloody battle reopened with a quarter of its workforce.
Also ahead, a verdict in what some call China's trial of the century.
And a sad day for film fans around the world. We take a look back at the life and legacy of Top Gun director Tony Scott.
All that and much more when Connect the World continues.
SWEENEY: You're watching CNN and this is Connect the World with me, Fionnuala Sweeney. Welcome back.
Media reports say at least seven people have been killed and dozens injured after an explosion in southeastern Turkey. A car bomb reportedly blew up close to a police station in the city of Gaziantep. Several vehicles were set on fire. No one has claimed responsibility for the blast.
Here's a look now at some of the other stories connecting our world tonight.
The mine that was the scene of a bloody standoff in South Africa has reopened. The company operating the Lonmin mine said over a quarter of its staff returned to work on Monday morning. 34 miners were shot dead by police last week.
David McKenzie joins me now from Rustenburg. David, the mine was open for business, but could it have been business as usual in any sense of the word?
DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, certainly not Fionnuala. Just days after the deadliest day of protest here in South Africa since apartheid, which really shocked this nation and many around the world when those video images screamed out from this area of the Lonmin protests. Some 34 were killed as you said. Still not clear what exactly happened late Thursday afternoon. The police ended up firing on the protesters. Certainly still people there today looking for loved ones in the area of the mines.
A third of the -- or a quarter of the mine workers are back, according to Lonmin. You could see the smoke rising from the stack at the third largest platinum mine in the world, but really that's almost academic. They say they aren't able, yet, to extract any ore. This is having a potentially large economic impact on this area and in South Africa in general.
But really it's the shock of what has happened which has struck many South Africans. I spoke to the acting CEO of the company. Let's see what he had to say.
MCKENZIE: I mean, I have to ask a question. Do you feel that your company has blood on its hands from what has happened?
SIMON SCOTT, CFO, LONMIN: I don't think so. I mean, I think we all as South Africans feel exactly the same way that you feel. We've done -- you know, we've gone -- we've made sure that any of our employees that have been directly affected in this, we are doing as much as we possibly can. We put in place counseling for the families. We are assisting in the arrangement appropriately with regard to the burials that need to take place.
MCKENZIE: So whose fault is this?
SCOTT: There is a commission of inquiry that has been set up to look at whose fault it may be. At this time, we're not pointing fingers. We're saying let's get back to work. Let's get operations running smoothly. And then if there is blame to be apportioned, let's do that at a later stage.
MCKENZIE: Could the mine company have done more to avoid this by sitting down and talking to the strikers?
SCOTT: What we had was an illegal work stoppage where workers chose not to come to work. And it quickly escalated into one of public violence. We weren't at any stage didn't have that opportunity of engagement. I mean, our structures are there. And they're in place. And they are recognized by all. And, you know, all of the time leading up to the legal stoppage we didn't receive any of those.
MCKENZIE: And a lot of people have been shocked that this likened to a time in the past in the mines in South Africa in the mid-80s, late 80s. Do you think that comparison is fair?
SCOTT: The scenes of public violence shocked us all. I mean, it wasn't something that any of us relish. But I think within the mines, the situation has changed quite considerably.
MCKENZIE: Well, they say they have improved safety records as well as improved wages over the years. They want a three-fold wage increase, though, Fionnuala, particularly the rock drill operators, the men who go deep into these mines and actually extract the valuable platinum from the earth here. Obviously that three-fold increase, the company says, is just way too much. And as you heard there, they say they haven't even sat down with that break away union group.
The bigger picture here, really, is this feeling among many South Africans, at least in this area, that this is not just a battle for higher wages, but between the haves and have nots in the society -- Fionnuala.
SWEENEY: A continuing unfolding story. David McKenzie in Rustenburg, South Africa.
Tributes are pouring in for the acclaimed Hollywood director Tony Scott after the filmmaker jumped to his death in an apparent suicide. Scott was a household name famed for blockbuster hits including Top Gun and Crimson Tide. Two notes were left by the director, an official said, including one to his family. We'll have more on Scott's untimely death and the legacy he leaves behind in just over 15 minutes.
Reform in Myanmar appears to have taken another step with the country changing its censorship law. Journalists will no longer have to submit work to censors before it's published. They will, however, have to follow a strict set of rules when reporting, which some suggest may still lead to self censorship in the press.
A Republican House member has sparked uproar over remarks about abortion in cases of rape. Todd Aiken, who is running for the U.S. senate in Missouri says he misspoke in a pre-recorded television interview shown on Sunday.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What about in the case of rape. Should it be legal or not?
TODD AKEN, REPUBLICAN CANDIDATE FOR SENATE: Well, you know people always want to make that as one of those things well how do you slice this particularly tough sort of ethical question. It seems to be first of all from what I understand from doctors, that's really rare. If it's a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.
But let's assume that maybe didn't work, or something. You know, I think there should be some punishment, but the punishment ought to be on the rapist and not attacking the child.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SWEENEY: The Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney and his running mate Paul Ryan say they disagree with Todd Akin's remarks. And Scott Brown also a Republican senator has called for the congressman to quit the race for the Senate.
A daughter of a former South Korean dictator has been chosen as the governing party's presidential candidate. If she wins, Park Geun-hye will be the country's first female president. The 60 year old says she entered politics to, quote, save her country. If she's successful she'll also be the first child of a former president to hold the role. She the daughter of Park Chung-hee who was assassinated in 1979.
At this very moment, two Russian cosmonauts are taking the walk of their lives outside the International Space Station. These two veteran astronauts have embarked on a six-and-a-half hour space walk. They're installing shields to protect against debris as well as launching a small satellite. The mission is being run from the control center just outside Moscow.
Well, we're going to take a short break now, but when we come back the home of the Master's golf tournament is changing one of its longstanding positions.
SWEENEY: One of the oldest and most controversial gender barriers in the world of sport is about to fall. Later this year the Augusta National Golf Club, home of the Masters tournament, will welcome its first ever female members. And they are Condoleeza Rice, the former U.S. Secretary of State, and Darla Moore, a well known and influential businesswoman from the U.S. state of South Carolina.
Well, Don Riddell joins me now for more on this story.
It's difficult to actually quantify just how historic this is.
DON RIDDELL, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: As well, but it is very, very historic. Augusta has been under pressure for so many years to allow female members into the clubhouse and they just refused to do it. Hootie Johnson, the former chairman famously said when he was put under pressure by Martha Burke about 10 or 12 years ago we will not do this at the point of a bayonet.
It has finally happened. There was a lot of talk earlier this year during the Masters when you'll remember that IBM CEO Virginia Rometty, when all her predecessors had been allowed into Augusta, she wasn't. She still isn't -- or at least we don't believe she is. We don't even know if she's been considered for membership. But the fact that they have allowed two female members in is historic.
We've got a couple of reactions from the world of golf. Tiger Woods said, "I think the decision" -- actually we're going with the PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchern, since that's the one you can see. He said, "the PGA Tour commends Augusta National Golf Club on the news that it has invited Condoleeza Rice and Darla Moore to become its first women members at a time when women represent one of the fastest growing segments in both playing and following the game of golf. This sends a positive and inclusive message for our sport."
Tiger Woods said, "I think the decision by the Augusta National Membership is important to golf. The club continues to demonstrate its commitment to impacting the game in positive ways. I would like to congratulate both new members, especially my friend Condi Rice."
SWEENEY: Oh, well. Let's move on now to -- from one historic situation to one that was hoped to be historic today and it was Manchester United this week in terms of making it a much anticipated debut, but does it actually happen now that the English soccer season is underway?
RIDDELL: Yeah, the soccer season is underway. Manchester United's season is underway. And just as you were introducing that story I was told that Robin Van Persie has come on as a substitute for Manchester United, so this is arguably the most feared strike force now in the Premiership. You've got Robin Van Persie and Wayne Rooney playing together. Those were the top two scorers in the Premier League last season with a combined 57 goals between them, I think. So much feared.
Robin Van Persie very controversially leaving Arsenal to sign for United. He was their captain. He was Arsenal's top scorer last year, but they wave goodbye to him. He's now made his debut for Manchester United, but they're chasing the game. Ferguson will be looking for goals from him and Wayne Rooney. Marouane Fellaini gave Everton the lead on 57 minutes. United hoping to get at least a point from their first game of the season. But for the neutrals, it's been a great game so far. Lots of chances.
SWEENEY: All right. So we will be continuing to follow that game. Don Riddell, thank you very much indeed. You'll be up later with World Sport right?
SWEENEY: Now the world news headlines are up next right here on Connect the World.
Also ahead, he made some of Hollywood's biggest blockbuster hits. We take a look back at the life and legacy of Tony Scott.
And we meet the boy who is too afraid to fly, but who is also thousands of miles away from home.
And (inaudible) your mobile phone. If so, there's a new sport just for you. More on this story when we return.
SWEENEY: A warm welcome to our viewers across Europe and around the world. I'm Fionnuala Sweeney and these are the latest world headlines from CNN.
Media reports say at least seven people have been killed and dozens injured after an explosion in southeastern Turkey. A car bomb blew up close to a police station in the city of Gaziantep. No one has claimed responsibility.
Barack Obama says he will change his response to Syria if the Assad regime begins to use or move chemical weapons. The US president says such a move would be a red line which could cause him to use US military forces.
Syrian activists say attacks this Monday have killed 100 people. Video posted online appears to show the latest shelling in a suburb of the capital. The violence comes on the second day of Eid al-Fitr, the festival marking the end of Ramadan.
Pakistan's blasphemy laws are drawing more scrutiny after the arrest of an 11-year-old Christian girl in Islamabad. She's accused of using pages of the Koran as fuel for cooking a -- a cooking fire. Her family has fled their home, fearing for their lives. A police official says the girl, who is illiterate, told him if she did, she did so accidentally.
The Lonmin platinum mine in South Africa is giving striking workers another day to return to their jobs. The mine had said the workers would be fired if they didn't come back today. Forty-four people have been killed during the 11-day strike over job cuts, many of them in a police shooting last Thursday.
The Hollywood filmmaker Tony Scott has died after leaping to his death from the Vincent Thomas Bridge in Los Angeles on Sunday. An official has said two notes were left by the director, including one for his family. CNN's Hala Gorani takes a look back at his life and work.
HALA GORANI, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): From Britain to Beverly Hills, Tony Scott was a respected director and producer, a Hollywood veteran.
Born Anthony DL Scott to working-class parents in northern England, he followed his older brother and fellow director Ridley Scott into the film industry. In 1995, they formed their own production company and worked together on a number of films, including this summer's "Prometheus."
Tony Scott was one of the first directors to make the move from TV commercials to film. He did thousands of ads, but it was this one for Saab Motors that landed him his first major movie. Based largely on the ad, producer Jerry Bruckheimer hired Scott to direct "Top Gun."
JAMES TOLKAN AS "STINGER," "TOP GUN": Son, your ego is writing checks your body can't cash.
GORANI: It was a mega-hit and would become Scott's best-known movie. Scott went on to work with some of Hollywood's biggest stars in a string of big-budget action movies. Eddie Murphy in "Beverly Hills Cop 2," Tom Cruise again in "Days of Thunder," Denzel Washington in "Crimson Tide," Will Smith in "Enemy of the State." Scott directed the cult classic "True Romance," written by a then-unknown Quentin Tarantino.
His most recent movie, "Unstoppable," came out in 2010. He talked to CNN about the difficulty of shooting the film about a runaway train.
TONY SCOTT, DIRECTOR: To me, it was the most challenging movie of my life and the most dangerous because I'm shooting 90 percent of the movie on a train which is running anywhere between 50 and 70 miles an hour, and I tried not to be inhibited by the fact that I was shooting on a moving train.
GORANI: Whether it was on the red carpet or a Hollywood movie set, Scott was easily recognizable, often wearing a red frayed cap. It was his low-key trademark in the high-pressure world of a Hollywood movie director.
SCOTT: My adrenaline kicks in at 2:30 in the morning when I get up. I'm bolt upright with fear. Fear of failure -- fear of creative failure.
GORANI: Married to actress Donna Scott with twin sons, Tony Scott was 68 years old.
SWEENEY: Well, earlier I spoke to film critic Kevin Maher, who interviewed Scott on a number of occasions, and I began by asking him how he had reacted to the sudden and unexpected news.
KEVIN MAHER, FILM CRITIC, "THE TIMES": My reaction to his death was one of shock. But then, in retrospect, I interviewed him a couple of years ago, and he seemed to be in a very sort of reflective space in his life, where he was looking back and everything was what he had done.
So, a tiny little part of my brain kind of went, "Oh, well that makes a little bit of sense." But not much.
SWEENEY: And when you say "reflective," how do you mean?
MAHER: Well, I've interviewed Tony Scott a lot over the past decade. I interviewed him three times, and I found with each time, he was getting more mellower, and more -- yes, more reflective, looking back, taking stock rather than being the sort of bullish alpha male he used to be at the start.
You know, the cigar-smoking cliche? He used to be that guy. But as time went on, he was talking more about his children, his life, and not really beating his chest too much about his career.
SWEENEY: And yet, his career seemed to be going extremely well. By all accounts, he was working on a remake of "Top Gun" with Tom Cruise.
MAHER: Yes, he was working on -- well, they -- I don't know if it's as much substance. They said he was working on "Top Gun 2," was the thing he was most interested in the last time I spoke to him was "Potsdamer Platz," a thriller with Mickey Rourke.
And so, I think he might have been hurt a bit by "Unstoppable," his last film, with Denzel Washington, because it didn't do too well at the box office. But -- yes, it's very unusual. I wouldn't like to suppose or inject any ideas as to why --
MAHER: -- he did it.
SWEENEY: In terms of "Unstoppable," do you think that when you say that he might have been hurt by that, did he take the success and failures of his films acutely?
MAHER: He did. This is another question about the arc of his career. He used to be very bullish earlier on, and when I first met him at the start of the 90s, I remember him saying when I talked about his critics -- and critics are often really down on Tony Scott films -- and he used to say, expletive deleted to them. He didn't care about critical response.
Whereas as he got older, he definitely with "Unstoppable," he was really proud of the film, that it was based on a real person, it was a runaway train thriller, but it was based on a real person and a real event. And I think he felt he was moving away from the high concept gloss of the "Top Gun" era movies.
SWEENEY: What do you think will have been his greatest legacy to filmmaking?
MAHER: I know the big -- the sort of heartbreaking irony in all this is that the legacy is the high concept, big, dumb action, chest-beating male movies. And the feeling I got was always that there was this other sense of slightly -- there was the artist underneath him that wanted to maybe occupy the same space as Ridley and didn't really have the chance.
And with "Unstoppable," which is still a big action movie, he was possibly stepping into that space. But this is all such supposition. But maybe that's just the feeling I got from speaking to him. And it was in 2009 when I spoke to him, but I did find a much more gentler, reflective person.
SWEENEY: And Tony Scott was a loved figure in Hollywood. Acclaimed director Ron Howard simply tweeted, "No more Tony Scott movies. Tragic day."
Actor Elijah Wood wrote, "Awful news about Tony Scott. Rest in peace."
Comedian and actor Chris Rock also tweeted, "Tony Scott, director of my favorite movie, 'Man on Fire,' I wish you had more time.
Movie critic Roger Ebert said, "The death of Tony Scott is shocking and saddening. He was an inspired craftsman."
And finally, writer-producer Robert Rodriguez has this message. "Tony Scott. Damn. Great knowing you, buddy. Thanks for the inspiration, advice, encouragement, and the decades of great entertainment."
And still to come on CONNECT THE WORLD, she confessed to murdering a British businessman. Now, the wife of disgraced Chinese politician Bo Xilai learns her fate.
SWEENEY: Hello, I'm Fionnuala Sweeney, and you're watching CONNECT THE WORLD. After months of salacious testimony that kept China riveted, a court handed down a verdict today in the murder trial of Gu Kailai. The wife of the disgraced politician, Bo Xilai, was given a suspended death sentence for killing a British businessman. Stan Grant looks at the case that has shaken Chinese politics to its core.
STAN GRANT, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A woman alone in court, a long way from a life of privilege and power, Gu Kailai convicted of murder, now resigned to her fate.
GU KAILAI, CONVICTED OF MURDER (through translator): I think this verdict is fair. It fully reflects the court's respect for law, reality, and especially human life.
GRANT: Gu Kailai was one half of China's ultimate power couple. Her husband, Bo Xilai, charismatic, once touted a future president of China.
To Chinese scholars like Wu Dengming, this was a story played out in the political heavens. "This is a fight between the gods," he said, "way beyond the reach of ordinary people."
Bo Xilai styled himself as the spiritual heir of Mao Zedong. Bo staged cultural revolution-style mass rallies. Crowds sang revolutionary songs and changed red slogans, all of this bolstering his power base as party chief of the massive metropolis of Chongqing.
But Analysts say Bo made enemies in the Communist Party, wary of his redder-than-red rhetoric.
"He's been playing the role of Mao's successor," says Wang Kang. "He was visiting PLA camps and giving the soldiers Mao's bust as gifts. None of the other politicians has ever done that. I think this has been a huge misjudgment of Bo. Going back to Mao's path is not an option. That's been proven to be a dead end. Mao led a road to ruin."
It was an enemy within that led to Bo's ruin. Wang Lijun was Bo's top cop. He carried out Bo's "smash black" campaign, a brutal crackdown on crime gangs and corruption. But the trusted insider himself fled to a US consulate with an explosive story. Bo's wife, Gu Kailai, had murdered a British businessman, Neil Heywood.
In the months since, this saga has played out in rumor and innuendo, lifting the veil of secrecy at the top of Chinese politics.
GRANT (on camera): Gu Kailai in her trail admitted to poisoning Heywood. She said that a business deal had gone wrong. She feared for the safety of her son and had suffered a nervous breakdown.
GRANT (voice-over): Gu Kailai is now behind bars, convicted of murder, her death sentence suspended, her accomplice sentenced to nine years jail. There will be no appeal. The other players in this saga await their fate. Wang Lijun will go to trial potentially for treason. Bo Xilai, the man once destined for the top, remains out of sight and silenced.
Stan Grant, CNN, Beijing.
SWEENEY: Well, our next guest says the verdict and sentencing of Gu Kailai were no surprise, and he says the real question is what happens next to her husband. Jonathan D. Pollack is a senior fellow with the John L. Thorton China Center at the Brookings Institution. He joins us now from CNN Washington. Thank you for joining us. What will likely happen to her husband now?
JONATHAN D. POLLACK, JOHN L. THORTON CHINA CENTER, BROOKINGS INSTITUTION: Well, we can all speculate about this, but it does seem to me he stands accused, to the degree that any bill of particulars has been put out, of unspecified serious violations of party discipline. I cannot see how they will simply let that pass.
In some sense, they've got to resolve his circumstances, decide what offenses -- what kind of allegations are appropriate for them to deal with it, but again, the conviction of his wife is no surprise, as well as the fact that she has had a commuted death sentence, at least for now.
But here, again, Bo Xilai himself has been not mentioned in the trial. He's sort of, if you will, the unindicted co-conspirator. And I just can't see how that's going to be left unresolved in definitely.
SWEENEY: So, presumably this trial would have been a gift to Bo Xilai's enemies, but yet, putting him on trial or taking it further is a very delicate operation and endeavor for the ruling Communist Party. Why so?
POLLACK: Well, without a doubt. First of all, a lot of what the Bo family stands accused of is trying to siphon monies out of China. That's hardly unique to this particular family, although this is a very, very powerful family, to be sure.
But in all of this, it's just, as you disclose any information, other kinds of things unravel in the process. The bill of particulars, for example, against Madam Gu as I'm reading it today just seems to me to be so full of holes, questionable assumptions, unanswered questions, and the like.
So, there's always a risk if you were to put Bo Xilai on trial in some context, even though it's not exactly up to what shall we call standards of Western jurisprudence. There are risks of additional disclosure as people try to save their own skins, if you will.
SWEENEY: OK So this could go further, potentially, than just this particular trial, which we heard the verdict for today.
SWEENEY: So, how united or divided is the ruling Communist Party when it comes to Bo Xilai.
POLLACK: Well, he was, as your correspondent noted, a very controversial figure. The top leadership really didn't know what to do with him or make of him, because he was developing his own power base, his own branding, if you will, politically in China.
So, this was a source, I think, of a lot of unresolved tension within the political system. It looked as if he was going to be promoted to the very top of the system as a member of the standing committee of the Chinese Communist Politburo, that's to be selected quite soon. That's all gone right now.
But I think there are a lot of unresolved tensions, here, that are reflected about the divided opinions very high up in the system. Ones that cannot be indefinitely ignored or papered over.
So, his -- this case and the extraordinary way in which his whole political career has unraveled leaves open the door for serious consideration of some of these unresolved tensions, but it's not clear at all whether the top leadership is really prepared to face them in a way that, in effect, embarrasses them or embarrasses others.
SWEENEY: Because -- because the incoming leadership, of which he had been expected to be a part, was presumably going to address the very, very thorny issue of corruption?
POLLACK: I think sooner or later it had to. Now, you could always argue that in China, you can usually find a few that you can offer up for the occasion, but if you start addressing corruption in the case of the Bo family, what about the other families that are implicated?
I'm not excusing whatever Madam Gu's conduct was or was not. Maybe she really did poison him. But I think that the larger question here is the ill-gotten gains that we see across the Chinese political system, the lack of full disclosure in a meaningful sense to address these kinds of issues.
Whether or not this is a system that really is prepared to heal itself, because a lot of it is going to involve enormous embarrassment within the system and the fortunes of a lot of leaders well beyond Bo Xilai himself.
SWEENEY: We'll leave it there. Thank you very much, though, for taking the time to join us. Jonathan D. Pollack, there, of the John L. Thorton China Center at the Brookings Institution.
POLLACK: Thank you.
SWEENEY: Now, Gu and her husband were China's ultimate power couple, as you heard. At our website, you can read about how they were both descendents of China's revolutionary heroes and much more at cnn.com/international.
In the meantime, you're watching CONNECT THE WORLD, and when we come back, something all of us at some point have probably wanted to do. Yes, this is a man throwing his mobile phone. Find out why next.
SWEENEY: Now, what do you do when you're thousands of miles from home and you're terrified of flying? Well, that's the problem facing the Thompson family moving back to the United Kingdom. Eleven-year-old Joe has developed a paralyzing phobia. His father has decided to find a route back to the UK by land or sea. But that means crossing some deadly areas, as Schams Elwazer reports.
SCHAMS ELWAZER, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): On a scorching August afternoon, 11-year-old Joe Thompson only has his dad to practice rugby with. All his friends have gone home for the summer holidays. But when Joe tried flying home to the UK six weeks ago, a sudden fear of flying paralyzed him at the airport.
JOE THOMPSON, HAS FLYING PHOBIA: Everything just went horrible for me. It -- my -- I just went into body lockdown. My -- I kept on crying. I sat down, I couldn't move. I just couldn't do it.
ELWAZER: He's tried flying home four times already, and once even made it as far as the flight cabin.
THOMPSON: And then the captain announced that we needed to shut the doors now, and so, I immediately knew what to do. I just got over the chairs, went around into the aisle, and sprinted out.
ELWAZER: Joe's father, Tony, says the phobia came out of the blue and that Joe had always loved flying. He says hypnotherapy, psychiatric consults, and even a sedative injection failed to get his son onboard.
TONY THOMPSON, JOE'S FATHER: Initial reaction, was "Come on, get on the plane, you'll be fine." But then I realized no, it was far more serious than this.
ELWAZER: Even more serious is how to get Joe home now.
ELWAZER (on camera): The trouble for Joe and his father is that they live here in the Oasis city of Al Ain, in the middle of the desert of the United Arab Emirates. And London is 3500 miles that way.
ELWAZER (voice-over): The challenge has been finding an alternative to the eight-hour flight that takes them across the Middle East by land and sea while avoiding the deadly conflict areas.
T. THOMPSON: -- through Baghdad, through Syria, through Aleppo, and into Turkey. But clearly that's not going to happen.
ELWAZER: The maritime option is to sail around the Arabian peninsula through the pirate-infested waters of the Red Sea, up through the Suez Canal, past the Egyptian hot spot of Sinai, then onto Turkey and Europe.
But now, there's also the option of a land route. After earlier being denied entry visas by Saudi Arabia, the ambassador in London stepped in to help and these freshly-minted visas mean Tony and Joe can now take a bus through Saudi Arabia and Jordan, a car to Haifa in Israel, a boat to Cypress or Greece, then trains all the way through Europe until they reach the UK, about a two-week journey.
T. THOMPSON: It's been a bit of a roller coaster. Right now, we just want to get on our way.
J. THOMPSON: I just can't wait to get started.
ELWAZER: Father and son say they're both optimistic that once home, they can get Joe's condition treated. But for now, they're still grounded, playing ball on an empty field, waiting for the first bus, ship, or car, heading roughly home.
Schams Elwazer, Al Ain, United Arab Emirates.
SWEENEY: Quite an adventure. And in tonight's Parting Shots, have you ever been so fed up with your mobile phone that you wanted to throw it as far away as possible? Well, get practicing, because phone-throwing is now officially a sport.
This weekend saw the thirteenth mobile phone-throwing world championship in Savonlinna, Finland. Contestants took turns tossing phones and were judged on both distance and style. The winner was an 18-year-old Finn who threw her phone just over 101 meters. Only a meter less than the world record set in July in Belgium. All phones are recycled, incidentally, after the competition.
I'm Fionnuala Sweeney and that was CONNECT THE WORLD. Thank you for watching. The world headlines are up next after this short break.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
(ANNOUNCER COMMENTING IN FINNISH)