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Chinese police chief in connection to Gu Kailai trial ends

The trial of ex-police chief Wang Lijun at the centre of a divisive political scandal in China has ended, bringing the country's leadership closer to resolving a case that exposed infighting and hit plans for a transfer of power to new leaders.

Wang's admission over Chinese politician Bo Xilai's involvement in the murder of British businessman Neil Heywood lead to Bo being ousted from the communist leadership and his wife's conviction for murder.

Police chief who highlighted the Heywood murder scandal is charged

China says the former police chief at the heart of the country's biggest political scandal in years has been charged with defection, power abuse, and bribe taking.

Wang Lijun's flight to the US consulate was deemed to constitute defection.

This led to the dismissal of the city's powerful communist party boss Bo Xilai and the conviction of Bo's wife for the murder of British businessman Neil Heywood.

The official Xinhua News Agency gave no immediate details about the charges against Lijun, but the announcement indicates a trial will come soon, moving the scandal closer to a resolution before a key transition to a new generation of national leaders this autumn.

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Gu Kailai: 'This case has been a huge stone weighing on me'

Chinese state news agency Xinhua.net has quoted Gu Kailai as saying in her final statement:

This case has been like a huge stone weighing on me for more than half a year. What a nightmare.

During those days last November, I suffered a mental breakdown after learning that my son was in jeopardy. The tragedy which was created by me was not only extended to Neil, but also to several families.

The case has produced great losses to the Party and the country, for which I ought to shoulder the responsibility, and I will never feel at ease. I am grateful to the humanitarian care shown to me by those who handled the case.

I solemnly tell the court that in order to maintain the dignity of the law, I will accept and calmly face any sentence and I also expect a fair and just court decision.

– Gu Kailai

Reports: Gu Kailai will not appeal suspended death sentence

Speaking after Gu Kailai's sentence, court official Tang Yigan said that Gu and family aide, Zhang Xiaojun, had told the court they would not appeal their sentences.

Tang said Gu told the court that the verdict was "fair and it shows special respect for the law, reality and life."

He also said that the court had considered Gu's testimony against others, her confession and repentance, and her "psychological impairment" as mitigating factors in sentencing.

But he said it rejected claims that Heywood's threats had prompted the crime, saying there was no evidence he intended to make good on them.

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