Wei Jingsheng Foundation News and Article Release Issue: A726-W456

魏京生基金会新闻与文章发布号: A726-W456


Release Date: August 11, 2012



Topic: The Way Out for China (Part LXV): Gu Kailai’s Murder Case Reveals More about Communist China’s Legal System -- Wei Jingsheng

标题:《中国的出路》之六十五:从谷开来杀人案,再谈法制是根本 -- 魏京生


Original Language Version: Chinese (Chinese version at the end)



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The Way Out for China (Part LXV): Gu Kailai’s Murder Case Reveals More about Communist China’s Legal System

-- Wei Jingsheng



The Gu Kailai and Zhang Xiaojun murder trial, which is affiliated with the (her husband) Bo Xilai case, went on trial at the Hefei Intermediate People's Court in Anhui Province on August 9.  This case has received worldwide media attention, as well as a lot of discussion and suspicion from both the international media and Chinese netizens.


The discussion in the international media leans toward problems this trial had.  According to the customary thinking of a society that follows a rule of law, how could an affiliated case be determined before the main case even enters into the legal procedure?  Regardless whether it was the main legal case or the affiliated one, why wasn't the corruption case that led to the murder presented?  Why did that case simply disappear?  There are many questionable issues that are too many to list.


There is a detail that the foreigners have not paid attention to that the Chinese people also think is unimportant, which is that obviously, the trial officials refused the defense lawyers hired by Gu's family according to legal procedure.  However, the Chinese government's report stated that Gu confirmed the lawyers appointed by the government.  This statement reveals the rule of law is going backwards in China.


Thirty-three years ago when the Communist government put me on trial, I had a heated argument with the court, regarding my right to get defense lawyers for myself.  However, to the end, I was not able to get my own lawyers.  That was because that time was the beginning of the establishment of rule by the law, but the court was still accustomed to manipulating the trial according to the previous rules of the lawless era in order for the authority to mislead people.  Such manipulation was learned from the Stalin era of the former Soviet Union, and was retrogression from the traditional Chinese rule of law.  Even at that time, the Chinese people spurned such action.


However, when I was put on trial the second time 17 years ago, there was already slight progress with the rule of law in China.  Though it was still not allowed for the public to attend, though there was still no one from the Procuratorate in the court, though the conviction was already determined before the court opened, though it was still an operation in a black box by the Politburo of the Communist Party, but the Communist government at least pretended to follow the rule of law: I was able to designate the lawyers I wanted.  Thus, the proportion of that black box operation was greatly reduced, and my family and the outside world were able to know the contents of the files regarding my case.  Thus, there was a certain degree of supervision over that black box operation, even though it was only after the fact.


For a murder case that has less excuse for secrecy than an "anti-revolutionary" case, the Chinese authority still wants to do their black box operation.  So be it.  But why does it have to be kept a secret?  The only interpretation is that there are some things that need to be concealed even though it is against the law.  According to the official announcement the cause of the murder was due to economic disputes.  Then what were those economic disputes?  Were they unrelated to corruption?  These are the questions that both the international society and the Chinese people are asking.


Before this trial, corruption cases of two previous Politburo members could be investigated, even thought they were done according to the custom of black box operation of the Communist Party.  Then why isn't the corruption problem of the Bo Xilai case investigated here?  If there is no corruption problem with Gu Kailai's case, which is closely associated with the Bo Xilai case, then to the least the corruption problem of Bo's case is optional.  This "uncertainty" will be conducive to the bargaining that is coming up within the Communist leadership.


Another possibility is that the corruption case implicated a broad scope, to the degree that when one pulls out the carrots, one gets mud all over.  Thus, the corruption has to be "harmonized" during this black box operation.  In this way, not only is the corruption harmonized, but it also leaves room for bargaining over the murder case.  As a defined murderer, Go Kailai was not handcuffed when she was in court, nor did she present any defense for herself to all sorts of strange questions from the court, nor could her family members appear in the court despite the premise of permission.  All these appearances suggest a standard Stalin-style show trial.


Later declassified information from the Soviet Union illustrated an exchange behind the scenes for Nikolai Bukharin to admit charges that Joseph Stalin imposed on him.  Using Bukharin's wife and young son as hostages, Stalin was able to make Bukharin admit all the charges that everyone knew were absurd.  Was Gu trying to protect her son and husband?  Were there a lot of persons associated with the case protected?  This is not a court trial, but simply a chain set, that is qualified to be a traditional drama where even the emperor is involved in the conspiracy case.


This Gu Kailai case is just like that of Bukharin.  Besides oral confession, it lacks main evidence to prove the facts.  The evidence that was offered was bloody, but was mostly indirect and did not prove that the specific person Gu committed the murder in her hands.  Yet, why didn't this well-known lawyer Gu dare to defend herself therefore?  It is because she knew the darkness of the Chinese justice system.  If the trial were in the United States, she surely would use the insufficient evidence to defend herself, and certainly would not self-incriminate, and thus create a case of injustice for herself.


This is the real difference between the American judicial system that she attacked as having low efficiency, and the Chinese judicial system that she praised as having high efficiency.  Is it more important to have a judicial process that is fast, efficient, and low-cost, or a judicial process that is fair and honest?  It is the fundamental difference between the normal rule of law and the "rule of law" of a totalitarian system.


In accordance with the traditional Chinese culture, and most cultures of the world, fairness and honesty are the most important principles of justice.  All other conditions and processes must take these first principles as the standard.  When there is conflict, the other conditions and processes must be sacrificed to guarantee fairness and honesty.  Yet, only the Communist countries have put these principles at a not so important priority in the design of their judicial systems.


According to the public explanation of the Communist Party in China, the law is the weapon in the hands of the people, to use against the others.  So which people can effectively use this weapon?  Of course, it is the party that has more power - who has more power, then who has the right to use these weapons.  Gu Kailai had her reasons to despise the judicial system of the USA.  That was because she thought herself as one of the righteous rulers.  So from the perspective of those in power, the judicial system in the USA surely is not as convenient as the one in China.  In the United States, people can effectively use the legal system to protect themselves.  But in China, when these officials lose their judicial privilege, they will not feel free.


In China, the judicial system of the Communist Party gives those in power the greatest freedom, which is the fundamental reason that ordinary people do not get protected.  Yet, those in power still feel very strange: how could it be that the ordinary people try to take the law as a shield?  This awakening does not meet the judicial principles of Communism.


People like Gu Kailai, who has now lost the asylum of the power and become an ordinary person, will only learn through her own experience how horrible this efficient and inexpensive judicial system is.  As a well-known big lawyer, not only couldn't she protect her own son and her husband, she does not even have the right to seek survival for herself now.  Regardless whether Gu Kailai murdered someone or not, this show trial has demonstrated that the current Chinese judicial system, in the style of the medieval inquisition, is not only uncivilized and non-democratic, but even worse than the traditional Chinese judicial system that had been in effect for more than 2,000 years prior to Communist rule.  The traditional Chinese system stressed that "a prince who broke law must be punished in the same way as the common person", and everyone should be able to use law as a shield for themselves.



To hear Mr. Wei Jingsheng's related commentary, please visit:



(Written on August 9 and recorded on August 10, 2012.  Broadcasted by Radio Free Asia.)



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Wei Jingsheng Foundation News and Article Release Issue: A726-W456

魏京生基金会新闻与文章发布号: A726-W456


Release Date: August 11, 2012



Topic: The Way Out for China (Part LXV): Gu Kailai’s Murder Case Reveals More about Communist China’s Legal System -- Wei Jingsheng

标题:《中国的出路》之六十五:从谷开来杀人案,再谈法制是根本 -- 魏京生


Original Language Version: Chinese (Chinese version at the end)









-- 魏京生























这就是被她抨击的低效率的美国司法制度,和高效率节约经费的中国司法制度的根本区别。到底是快速、高效、廉价的司法原则重要,还是公正无欺的司法原则重要? 这是正常的法制和极权主义法制的根本区别。





















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