Chinese Law Prof Blog

Editor: Donald C. Clarke
George Washington University Law School

Sunday, August 12, 2012

He Weifang on the Gu Kailai trial

Law professor He Weifang has posted the Xinhua report of the Gu Kailai trial on his blog and appended some, well, let's just say not entirely credulous comments.

Here's my translation, followed by the Chinese text of his comments. I think his title is a pun, but am not sure. I'll ask him. [AUG. 13 UPDATE: I asked, he answered. It's not a pun in the way I thought.]

An Impossible Situation [also perhaps a pun for “Protect Gu Kailai No Matter What”?]: Her hasty trial left more questions than it answered. Her motive for deciding to murder was to protect her son; is there any solid evidence that her son’s life was in danger? As she was a lawyer with rich international experience, the rational choice would have been for her to report the case to Scotland Yard. It’s absurd that she would kill someone herself. Could it be she was faced with some other threat that could not be spoken of? Who did the policemen who helped cover up the crime answer to? Moreover, Mr. Heywood apparently did not drink, and in addition was said to have already threatened Guagua. Now he was almost forced to Chongqing by Zhang and met with Guagua’s mother; it should have been as though facing with a mortal enemy. What wiles did she use to get him so thoroughly drunk? Witnesses who should have appeared in court – the most important of which were her husband and former police chief Wang Lijun – were utterly absent. None of the other relevant witnesses appeared in court, either. This kind of trial is just a show to cover up the truth. If this kind of case is not tried justly, then lies have to be used to cover up lies, leading to an impossible situation where the story doesn’t hold together and it becomes a satire of justice.

In any case, as far as the bit of the iceberg that was exposed is concerned, we can see who the real mafia in Chongqing are.



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He Weifang's most important question can be answered with one word: blackmail. You don't blackmail someone who can report it. And if the blackmailer asks for a high enough price he can induce the reaction of a cornered rat. I would not be surprised if the blackmail worked at first but became impossible to satisfy later.

Posted by: R.S.S. | Aug 12, 2012 10:01:39 AM

re. title of He's comments - did he explain the real meaning to you?

[DC reply: I know the real meaning. I was wondering about any second meaning that might have depended on a punning use of 谷.]

The term "进退维谷" is used also in the end of He's comments, and He used another, but equivalent term "前后失据".

The term can mean "dilemma", "stuck", "undecisive", "no where to go", or even "looking stupid", depending on the context. Obviously He got very upset of this trial, as he said in the very begining, "Her hasty trial left more questions than it answered". In other words, if this is a secret trial, then He need not be concerned with the many inconsistencies or lies - but they did a public trial; and if it is a public trial and tried justly, then those inconsistencies or lies would have been heard and investigated in the courtroom but not outside - but they did not.

Posted by: fyi. | Aug 16, 2012 1:50:52 AM

The sad thing about the Chinese judicial process: everyone looks at it like a kangaroo court. All the individuals involved are stooges at worst or performers at best. What's the meaning of justice?

Posted by: Frankie Fook-lun Leung | Aug 17, 2012 11:13:00 AM

I watched CSPAN3 today, the Brookings presentation. I marvel at the US speakers failure to mention political influences on the judiciary here. I found it shallow to mention the need for peasant reparations and stealing from the Chinese people and no mention of the same here. Much is great about the US judicial system but most here do not recognize how the establishment often controls it, it is often as political as the other branches. We should not be so pompous as to assume we can dictate what China does. I am a midwesterner born and bred, raised a Republican, but became educated and spent a career as a lawyer for the poor. The poor do not see our system as their protector. They are jailed for being poor and justifiably do not believe the lofty ideals of civil rights and legal burdens protect them. Ask Cubans about these issues. They perhaps see more clearly than these professors. And they have an interesting mix in their criminal system that is run by neighborhood and a mix of lay and lawyers.

Posted by: Gary Getzin | Nov 28, 2012 1:05:09 PM

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