Beijing: The suspended death sentence of Bogu Kaiali, wife of a disgraced Communist Party leader, has come under sharp criticism from Chinese microbloggers who say she was spared from gallows because of her princeling lineage and high status.
The Chinese official media has however defended the suspended death sentence to 54-year-old Bogu for killing a British businessman.
As the court verdict was announced yesterday, convicting Bogu for the murder of British businessman Neil Heywood in November last, Weibo, the Chinese twitter was abuzz with comments that her life was spared because she was daughter of former army general and wife of Bo Xilai, who till recently was a powerful Communist Party politician.
While some microbloggers compared her case with a Xia Junfeng, a vegetable street vendor from north-east China who was sentenced to death in 2009 for the murder of two "city management" officials, others questioned why she was not even handcuffed.
Xia remained in death row as his family appealed complaining that he killed the officials in self defence after he was attacked by them. His family and lawyers stated that several of witnesses were not allowed to testify.
Others questioned how Bogu was allowed to appear in the court without handcuffs while in the other murder trials accused were brought in heavy chains.
According to some of the comments from Sina Weibo, carried by CNN in its website, netizens voiced scepticism.
"As was expected, they've had a deal earlier", wrote one user, while another user wrote, "Delayed death penalty!! And it will turn into a life imprisonment, and then into fixed-term imprisonment, and after several years, it is happy life again".
One user wrote that the death penalty was "a special offer only for ordinary people".
Meanwhile, state-run Global Times said in an editorial that the suspended death penalty for Bogu "is within the normal range of sentencing. It is close to what the public anticipated."
"If Bogu were an ordinary member of the public, the sentence would have drawn much less attention, as the judicial system and the public are more cautious about the death sentence", it said.
"Given Bogu's special background as the wife of Bo Xilai, the former member of the Political Bureau, whatever the sentence was, it would not have escaped controversy. A death penalty may invite more debate", the editorial said.
While Bogu got suspended death sentence for Heywood murder, her orderly Zhang Xiaojun and four police officials were given varied jail terms for covering up the murder.
First Published: Tuesday, August 21, 2012, 22:16