Beijing: Disgraced Communist Party Politburo leader Bo Xilai's wife's death sentence has been commuted to life imprisonment by a court here, a dramatic development in one of the biggest scandals to rock China's political elite in recent years.
56-year-old Gu Kailai has been serving a suspended death sentence since 2012 after being convicted for the murder of British businessman Neil Heywood.
The case sparked a nationwide uproar after the Police chief of Chongqing city, which was governed by Bo, fled to American Consulate fearing reprisals for prosecuting her.
In an unexpected move, the Beijing high court in a November 16 datelined statement released today said Gu has shown good behaviour during prison labour and during "thought, cultural and technical study."
The case against Gu, a lawyer, virtually ruined the carrier of Bo, regarded as a Maoist rebel in the ruling Communist Party of China, and paved the way for unanimous election of Xi Jinping in the leadership change in 2012.
Bo, who was later arrested and prosecuted for corruption and abuse of power including interfering in investigations against Gu, is currently serving a life sentence in prison.
Gu was speculated to have business dealing with Heywood who died under mysterious circumstances in 2011 in Chongqing city. She was accused of poisoning him after he reportedly
threatened to harm her son who was studying abroad.
The police chief and Vice Mayor of the city Wang Lijun, who launched the probe against Gu, fled to American Consulate in Chengdu which subsequently lead to the investigations against Bo.
Wang came out of the Consulate after he was promised protection by the central government.
Wang himself was sentenced to 15 years in prison in 2013 for various acts of corruption and highhandedness.