Gu Kailai’s murder trial has started. It will likely be a swift and underreported affair, with the verdict, if not necessarily the punishment, in little doubt. Top Party leaders have kept a tight grip on the judicial investigation and the political narrative so far. There is scant reason to suspect that will change on either front.
The trial is intended make two public points. First, that no Party member, their spouse or family is above the law, more particularly, that even a princeling family isn’t above the law if it poses a threat to the inner sanctum of Party power–and the individuals who wield it. Second, that Gu, and by extension her husband, the politically disgraced former Chongqing party boss Bo Xilai, are exceptional cases. Together the Party hopes that will ring fence an affair that has shaken it far more than it cares for.