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Beijing Court Commutes Death Sentences of Gu Kailai and Liu Zhijun to Life in Prison

On December 15, 2015, Beijing’s High People’s Court decided that Gu Kailai, wife of an imprisoned former corrupt higher official (Bo Xilai), will no longer have to die for having murdered British businessman Neil Heywood due to the fact that she did not deliberately commit any crimes during the two years she was in prison. In August 2012, Gu received a death sentence with a two-year reprieve. The court commuted her sentence to life in prison.

The Beijing High People’s Court has also pardoned another suspended death penalty prisoner, Liu Zhijun, China’s ex-railway minister, for his obedient behavior in prison. In 2011, Liu was arrested on corruption charges after 40 people died and 192 were injured in the Wenzhou train collision. The court commuted Liu’s death sentence to life in prison.

[Editor’s note: Bo Xilai, Gu Kailai, and Liu Zhijun were followers of Jiang Zemin, the former top leader of the Chinese Communist Party and the People’s Republic of China.]

Sources, People’s Daily and, December 15 and December 14, 2015