7 August 2012. Gu Kailai, the wife of a fallen Chinese leader, Bo Xilai, goes on trial Thursday on charges of murdering a British businessman in a politically charged case that may have little to do with whether she really killed him. The scandal has brought to light the political infighting which the party leaders like to keep behind the closed doors, particularly at a time when the government is preparing for a political transition that will install a new generation leaders. Until his fall, Bo Xilai was considered a contender for a top position in the new government. Bo supporters were alleged to have tried to derail the succession plans calling for Vice-President Xi Jinping to lead the party for the next decade. The main objective is to keep the focus tightly on the murder trial so as to keep the corruption allegations under the lid; otherwise the allegations would further taint the communist regime. Gu and a household aide, Zhang Xiaojun, are accused of poisoning Neil Heywood, a long-time associate of the Bo family, in November in the city of Chongqing, where Bo was party chief until his ouster. Xinhua made clear the government considers the verdict a foregone conclusion. The report said “the evidence is irrefutable and substantial.” t will be tricky to get the public to perceive the trial as just, said Cheng Li, a Chinese elite politics expert at the Brookings Institution in Washington. A severe sentence for Gu might make her seem a scapegoat for the sins of her husband, regardless of whether she was directly involved in the slaying, Li said. However, if the household aide, Zhang, is sentenced to death but not Gu, it could be construed along class lines: “That would sound like the princelings’ lives are far more valuable than others ,” he said. As daughter of a prominent Communist revolutionary, Gu is considered a “princeling,” with an exalted status. Gu and Zhang will be defended by government-appointed lawyers instead of lawyers hired by their families, fuelling concerns about fairness. Before his ouster, Bo, also the son of a revolutionary veteran was one of China’s most powerful and charismatic politicians. But his overt manoeuvring for a top political job as well as high-profile campaigns to bust organized crime and promote communist culture, trampling over civil liberties and reviving memories of the chaotic Cultural Revolution in the process, angered some leaders. The infighting came to light with the sudden flight to the U.S. Consulate in Chengdu of long time Bo aide and former Chongqing police Chief Wang Lijun in February. Apparently fearing for his safety if he remained in Chongqing, Wang told American diplomats about his suspicions that Heywood had been murdered and that Bo’s family was involved. After U.S. Consulate refused asylum, Lijun was taken into custody by the police. Bo is in the hands of the party’s internal discipline and inspection commission. His trial is not likely to take place before next year, with charges possibly including obstructing police work and abuse of power.